Downing backing Houllier to succeed
Stewart Downing is backing Gerard Houllier to be a success at Aston Villa given his proven track record and the players who will be at his disposal.
Houllier will not be in charge for Monday night's Barclays Premier League clash at Stoke as he ties up the loose ends with the French Football Federation after resigning as their technical director. Caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald will select the side for a sixth successive match before Houllier takes control during the next couple of weeks.
"I saw his (Houllier's) press conference on TV when it got announced that he was the new manager and he came across very well," said Downing.
"If you look at his past record as a manager, with what he did at Liverpool and at Lyon, he's obviously got a good record and you don't get jobs like that if you're not very good.
"There's no reason that I can think of why he can't do very well at Aston Villa. He's got a good squad of players to work with. It's a great club, great facilities so everything's in place for him to do very well.
"I'm sure he's excited to come and work with the squad because, if he looks at it, he's got some very good players on his hands here."
Downing will be out to impress Houllier but knows players who did not feature regularly under Martin O'Neill will also be keen to make their mark.
He said: "Personally I see it as a challenge because every time a new manager comes in you've got to impress him.
"But all those lads who have not played can see it as a fresh start and the young lads coming through can see it as a chance to impress the manager.
"The main thing is we've got to play our best football and stay in the team and that doesn't change really - no matter who is in charge."