Belfast Telegraph

Houllier holds Lerner talks

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier has held "positive" talks with club owner Randy Lerner in the wake of the club's current poor run of results.

Houllier met with Lerner plus his group of backroom staff after the 3-0 defeat at Liverpool on Monday that left Villa two points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone. He even cancelled a scouting mission involving a Champions League clash in his native France in a bid to find a solution to Villa's disappointing sequence of results.

"We were supposed to go to France after the Liverpool game because I wanted to see a Champions League game on Tuesday night," said Houllier. "But I cancelled that and stayed with the team and stayed with the staff. We had a lot of meetings because we are concerned with what is going on."

He added: "In one of those meetings there was an encounter with the chairman. It was extremely positive. He knows we are going through a bad run. You've got to stick together and push up - as simple as that."

Houllier has brushed off criticism from Lerner's right-hand man, General Charles Krulak, over his behaviour at Anfield.

He angered Villa fans by not acknowledging them after waving to Liverpool supporters.

Houllier said: "I am not going to blame General Krulak, he has got the right to have an opinion and express it even if sometimes it doesn't help me. I've got enough on my plate to bother about that."

Houllier is taking no disciplinary action against defender James Collins over having a meal in Birmingham on Saturday evening less than 48 hours before the Liverpool game.

He said: "I had a word with James about that. It was a Saturday night and we were playing on Monday. He was in a restaurant with his wife, that is what he told me. His wife was there as well.

"Apparently there was no drink, no problems. He said he was having a meal with his wife. We believed him. No disciplinary action has been taken."

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