Premier League - Villa boss Houllier 'comfortable'

Thu, 21 Apr 09:04:00 2011

Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier is being treated in hospital after he fell ill on Wednesday evening.

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The Frenchman is understood to be in a comfortable position having already spoken to Villa's chief executive Paul Faulkner on Thursday morning.

But Houllier is now unlikely to be able to take charge of his side for Saturday's Premier League clash with Stoke at Villa Park.

The 63-year-old could be required to remain under observation in hospital for a few days as a precaution.

Gary McAllister, Houllier’s assistant, will take training in the Frenchman's absence and is likely to be in charge at Villa Park on Saturday. The club are expected to release a statement mid-morning on Thursday.

Chief executive Faulkner said: "On behalf of the football club, Mr Lerner and I wish to convey our best wishes to Gerard. I spoke with him this morning, as did Gary (McAllister) before he took training, and he sounded very positive.

"I've also received a lot of good wishes from fans and I would like to thank them for their kind thoughts in wishing Gerard a speedy recovery.

He added: "I will see him this afternoon, along with Gary, and we will pass on the fans' messages. I know they will mean a lot to him.

"We would ask everybody to respect his privacy and that of his family at this time."

The news is particularly concerning due to Houllier having suffered serious heart problems in the past.

The Frenchman underwent an 11-hour open heart surgery procedure after suffering from a condition known as dissection of the aorta at half-time during his Liverpool side’s 1-1 draw with Leeds in 2001.

Houllier, then 54, admitted afterwards that he was fortunate to still be alive.

A decade on, the Aston Villa manager still meets regularly with his specialist in Liverpool, "on a friendly basis".

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