Houllier had no fear of cup chop

Houllier went into yesterday's third-round match with Villa having lost seven of their previous nine games - and in the knowledge that Roy Hodgson had just parted company with his old club Liverpool.

As it was, Houllier was left a relieved man after Villa held off a fightback by Championship strugglers Sheffield United to eventually triumph 3-1.

Houllier insisted defeat would not have made a difference to his position at Villa, saying: "I don't think whatever happened there would have been any major change. I don't think anything would have happened really."

But asked about events at Liverpool, he added: "This world has become brutal, I mean it - if you lose two games you are in the firing line."

Source: PA

Source: PA