Houllier does not need surgery
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Aston Villa manager Gerard Houllier does not need surgery after going into hospital with chest pains, his assistant Gary McAllister revealed today.

Houllier underwent a major heart operation while in charge of Liverpool in 2001 and it was feared the Frenchman may have been in a similiar situation when it emerged he was admitted to a Birmingham hospital on Wednesday.

But the 63-year-old needs only medicine and rest to recover according to McAllister, who will take charge of the team against Stoke City tomorrow.

I visited Gerard yesterday [Thursday] in hospital after training and was surprised how well he looked.
Gary McAllister, Aston Villa assistant manager

McAllister said: "I visited Gerard yesterday [Thursday] in hospital after training and was surprised how well he looked. It was really surprising. If you took away all the stuff attached to his arms, he didn't look ill.

"He is on the coronary ward. He was great and bubbly. He had a tough night but he was looking surprisingly well and in fine fettle."

When asked if Houllier would need surgery, McAllister said: "They [the specialists] are definitely saying there is no surgery needed, which is a massive plus. The last time there was major surgery. This time there will be no surgery needed, purely medicine and rest."

McAllister insists there is no chance of Houllier walking away from football, even if such a high-pressure position could affect his health.

"Gerard is a football anorak. He lives for the game and he will be back," McAllister said. "Of course, Gerard knows there are more important things than football.

"But you've got to realise his passion for this game as well. It runs very deep, he loves the game and he will be back. I know the man better than you and he is already picking the team and organising training from his hospital bed.

The last time there was major surgery. This time there will be no surgery needed, purely medicine and rest.
Gary McAllister, Aston Villa assistant manager

"As far as timescales go, he is in the hands of the specialist. He is with the top people in the country and we are being guided by them. We've got no influence on how long it is going to be."

Former Liverpool midfielder McAllister is confident Villa's players will rally around Houllier in the same way as when Phil Thompson took charge at Anfield in the absence of the Frenchman.

He said: "There was shock within the Liverpool dressing room and we knew there was a major problem with the length of the surgery and what it entailed. It was a big operation.

"But Phil Thompson came in and that midweek we went to Kiev for a Champions League game and it was the first time Kiev had been beaten in Russia. The players rallied and were playing for the manager and I'm sure that is what will happen here."