LIVERPOOL: Liverpool’s embattled manager Gerard Houllier issued a defiant chllenge to his critics on Tuesday, declaring he would not leave the post even were he to be offered the general managerial post.
The 55-year-old former French national manager has come under increasing pressure as Liverpool have slipped from Premiership leaders to also-rans, taking just three points from their last 10 matches and also being knocked out of the Champions League in the first group phase.
However, Houllier rejected any idea of him bowing to pressure and moving to a less hands-on post while he was replaced by good friend David O’Leary or Celtic’s combative handler Martin O’Neill.
He also claimed his health had never been better despite concerns that the poor run and the criticism could prompt him to suffer further heart problems which caused him to have a major operation last season.
“The situation is clear,” he told the Liverpool Echo. “I have never felt better than I am at the moment.
“In fact, I am probably better now than I was before I was taken ill.
“I enjoy this job and I don’t have any intention of going anywhere.
“I hear talk of me moving upstairs, but I can tell you they would have to move me downstairs before I went upstairs.
“There are rumours of people coming here but some-times the rumours are helping people who are about to sign new contracts,” added Houllier, who turned a struggling Liverpool’s fortunes around two seasons ago by guiding them to victories in the UEFA Cup, FA Cup and League Cup.
Houllier, who is not universally loved in his home country having laid all the blame for France’s failure to secure the point they needed in their last two home matches against Israel and Bulgaria to qualify for the 1994 World Cup Finals on players such as Reynald Pedros and David Ginola, said that the club was not in a crisis.
“Just because we are six points short of what I think we should have in the league, people say it’s a crisis.
“But the board and the staff all know what we are doing and I told them to expect a bad period like this following a spell of rapid growth.” – AFP