Wednesday 17 January 2018

Houllier, Carew urged to 'grow up' for Villa's sake

Ian Edwards

Gerard Houllier and John Carew have been urged to bury their differences and to start behaving like "grown men" if Aston Villa are to haul themselves out of relegation trouble.

Villa manager Houllier has been given further backing from chief executive Paul Faulkner in the wake of the dismal 1-0 home defeat to Sunderland on Wednesday, which plunged the club into the relegation zone for the first time in seven years.

The club's hierarchy insist they will stick by the 63-year-old, despite calls from fans for his dismissal, but captain Stiliyan Petrov wants another truce between Houllier and Carew if Villa are to battle their way to safety.

Carew has been constantly over-looked by Houllier since his former Lyon manager arrived as a replacement for Martin O'Neill in the summer and relations between the pair have hit a low. West Brom are ready to offer the Norwegian a fresh start away from Villa Park, but with the club in serious danger of relegation, Petrov believes it would be a huge mistake to allow last season's top scorer to leave.

"I think the manager and him need to sort that out between themselves. They are grown men and I think everything is about the club," said Petrov.

"We know what John is capable of. If they can sort it out we would definitely welcome him for the team. I hope John comes back, because it is really frustrating."

Petrov also called on Carew to justify his cult status among Villa fans and do all he can to assist the team, adding: "I won't go into details, but I tell you what, if John wants to show these fans that he wants to belong here, I hope he is going to help us because we really need him. Is he going to do it? You need to ask him."

The last time Villa were in the bottom three was in 2004 under David O'Leary and Houllier's record of just three wins in his 15 league games suggests the club face a monumental task to turn their season around.

They have 17 games in which to revive their fortunes, but Houllier will have been badly wounded by his own club's supporters chanting "you're getting sacked in the morning" after the Sunderland defeat. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

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