Houllier - we need results
Published 03/12/2010 | 15:42
Gerard Houllier admits Aston Villa "desperately need results" as he prepares for Monday's return to Liverpool
The Villa manager has been generally pleased with the performance level of his injury-hit side since taking charge nearly three months ago.
But Houllier is still calling for improvements at both ends of the pitch with his side only three points above the relegation zone in the Barclays Premier League.
He will also be without suspended winger Ashley Young for the clash against Liverpool - with whom the Frenchman spent six years and won five major trophies before leaving in 2004.
The 63-year-old said: "Our football is good. It needs to improve in the final third and be more clinical.
"We also need to eradicate some stupid, schoolboy errors which cost goals.
"We are improving in terms of our passing, movement and preparation although there are some areas where we have to keep improving.
"But we need results. We desperately need results at the moment.
"It is a shame because at times we have shown we are better than the team that has beaten us - Sunderland, Blackburn, Birmingham etc."
Houllier added: "We know it is a difficult time. We are on 17 points. Maybe with three four, five points more, we would practically be in Europe.
"With three points less, we will be practically in the relegation zone.
"It is very compact and tight. All I know is we could have done better in terms of points.
"Also, without talking any credit from Birmingham, we should be in the Carling Cup semi-finals, because we had the ability to do that."
Houllier also accepts that it will take time for his style and demands to be fully implemented by the Villa players.
He explained: "For them it is a change because we changed the mentality, we changed probably the work ethic that we want, and we changed the football we want to play.
"That is many changes. That is why you have to be patient and indulgent and listen to your players."
Young, who has been one of Villa's most effective players this season, collected his fifth booking of the campaign against Birmingham in midweek and will have to serve a one-game ban.
Scottish midfielder Barry Bannan is also rated doubtful by Houllier after being substituted with a groin injury midway through the second half of the match against their local rivals.
Stephen Ireland and recent signing Robert Pires will come under consideration for a recall to the starting line-up.
Former Liverpool striker Emile Heskey has resumed training following a knee problem although it is likely to be too early for him to be considered against the Reds.
Heskey, signed by Houllier from Leicester for £11m a decade ago, had started to show his best form with three goals in six games before suffering the setback.