Gerard Houllier’s Latest Poor Excuse

This is what Gerard Houllier said about his teams failure to defend set pieces at Bolton last Saturday,

“I came to this club on September 18, they had their habits for four years and I am not going to change it in the middle of the season but next year it is something I will address. I will probably stick with it for the rest of the season.”

Unbelievable, just what does he mean?

Also September wasn’t the middle of the season, so what has he been doing since then?

Is he saying that since September he hasn’t had a chance to work on his defence? Is that the type of excuse Villa fans want to hear from their manager, who is supposed to be one of the top managers in European football (not my opinion).

Or is this Houllier trying to deflect the attention away from his own incapabilities yet again, this time by trying to shift the blame onto Martin O’Neill?

O’Neill had his faults, but one thing he could do well, was organise a team at set pieces – attacking and defending.

I do believe that Houllier maybe being a bit harsh on himself though, it’s not totally true that he hasn’t been able to change anything since he came to the club in September.

He has managed to take a decent squad of players challenging for Europe most seasons under Martin O’Neill and turn them into a bunch of under achievers who are now in a relegation battle.

Keep going Gerard, the rest of the footballing world will see through you again soon enough, I’m sure the majority of Villa fans already have.

Rafa in another fine mess

Liverpool’s season took another turn for the worse with Wednesday nights FA cup defeat to Reading at Anfield.

They now only have the Europa League left to play for as they are now out of the domestic FA and League cups, the Champions League and the title is long gone.

For me it is debatable as to whether they are even in the race for a top four finish such is their form and the form and money of Man City.

In a rare show of frustration from the loyalist of loyal fans the team were booed off at the end of the match, an incredibly rare event at Anfield.

I think it was Alan Hansen I once heard say that the fans will except defeat to a better team, but they won’t accept a lack of effort from their team. I think the fans response confirms which outcome this was.

There was little passion or commitment on show from the team when Torres and Gerrard where both on the field, there was far less once they both went off. It was like the team was rudderless.

Not only that, they lacked ideas, there was little creativeness – in fairness Aquilani is still finding his feet – and the likes of Ngog, Lucas and Babel just looked clueless.

If Ryan Babel really wants to stay and fight for a place in this team (as he stated he does) then that performance must leave you wondering what he would be like if he wanted to look disinterested in order to get a move away. It was unreal.

How much longer this can be tolerated from Rafa I don’t know. Surely he would be long gone with the gung-ho yanks by now, where he not on such a long lucrative contract.

Even the most ardent Benitez supporter who has stood up for him so admirably over the last few months must be questioning his faith after that.

If the performance on the pitch wasn’t bad enough, then his after match TV interview was. It was embarrassing.

When commenting on referee Phil Dowd’s performance, Benitez said “There were a lot of things out there I did not like, but I prefer not to say anything more.”

On the decision to award a penalty he said “You could debate for an hour whether it was a penalty or not, but what mattered was that it was awarded.”

Well I all I can say is that I watched the game and I thought it was a penalty, I thought that Dowd had a decent game as well. My only complaint would be just where he got the two minutes additional time at the end of the 2nd period of extra time from? It was traditional Fergie time!

Benitez can’t keep hiding behind excuses. The defeat had nothing to do with the performance of the referee, it was purely down to his team playing crap.

How much longer will Gerrard and Torres tolerate this for? At Gerrards age he must be fast moving towards his last chance for a big move if he wants to win a domestic league title (not necessarily in England), surely he can’t stay there next season if Benitez is still in charge.

His tenure at Anfield is becoming laughable and is starting to remind me of Gerard Houlliers last days there and David O’Learys constant excuse making at Aston Villa.

At this rate even the contract won’t be enough to save him soon! And that can’t come quick enough for me.