Gerard Houllier finally apologises for Anfield gaffe

Last updated : 10 December 2010 By Daily Mail

Gerard Houllier has apologised to Aston Villa fans upset with his behaviour on his return to former club Liverpool on Monday evening.

Villa supporters have been voicing their opinions since the 3-0 defeat at Anfield left their side two points above the Barclays Premier League relegation zone.

They were unhappy Houllier, who managed the Reds between 1998 and 2004, touched the 'This is Anfield' sign above the tunnel on his way on to the pitch.

At the end of the game, the Frenchman waved to the home fans and did not acknowledge the travelling Villa support.

Then in his post-match press conference, Houllier said: 'If I was going to lose 3-0 to anyone, it would be Liverpool as I like Liverpool.'

Houllier issued a midweek statement trying to explain his actions, but without actually apologising. But he adopted a difference stance at his press conference ahead of tomorrow's home clash with West Brom.

He said: 'If the fans think (what I did) was to hurt them, then I am sorry because this was not the case. It was just done in a humorous way and I am hurting as much they are. I was probably more hurt because it was Liverpool.

'If it adds to the fans' dissatisfaction, they have to know this was not the case at all (to upset them). This was done in a sort of a humorous way. I am sorry. That's it. That's enough.

Tough times: Stewart Downing holds off Glen Johnson in the 3-0 defeat at Anfield

'There was also a story that I touched the tunnel. I've done it forsix years because that is under the tunnel where I was sick and itmeant something.'

Houllier was referring to the heart scare he had during a game at Anfield in October 2001.

The Frenchman added: 'Had we won 3-0, no one would have talked aboutthat. No one would say anything about that. I'm hurting as much as thefans are. If you think that the fans have been hurt by what I said, yesI am sorry.'

Houllier is expecting a positive reaction from his players against Roberto Di Matteo's side.

He said: 'The training this week was more competitive andaggressive. It is exactly what we need and the players are aware we areon an edge at the moment. In situations like that, you see who you canrely on. There are players that are ready to go to war and those whoare not. I think everyone is prepared to.'

Tribute: Liverpool fans hold up a banner as a tribute to their former manager during the Villa win

Houllier has plenty of respect for West Brom's flying start to the campaign after gaining promotion from the Championship.

He said: 'They are a good team, playing good football. I saw themagainst Newcastle and they deserved their (3-1) win. There is no weakarea in their team, I would say, so we respect them but it is not aboutWest Brom, it is about us.'

Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (illness) and defender Luke Young(groin) have been ruled out against the Baggies while midfielder CiaranClark is suspended.

Striker Emile Heskey has recovered from the knee problem which hassidelined him for seven games and winger Ashley Young is availableafter a one-game ban.

 Under-fire boss Houllier wins vote of confidence from Aston Villa chiefs The Midlander: Gerard Houllier is left fighting a losing battle after his own goal at AnfieldMore woe for under-fire Villa boss Houllier after Collins' late partyingASTON VILLA FC

Source: Daily Mail

Source: Daily Mail