Gary McAllister denies player mutiny at Aston Villa

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The Independent Online

Gary McAllister has rubbished speculation there is a players' mutiny taking place at Aston Villa.

Players were reportedly unhappy at rules enforced by manager Gerard Houllier, including the banning of mobile phones.

But assistant boss McAllister denied claims Houllier had made draconian changes to the club rule book.

He also dismissed reports that players were unable to speak to Villa owner-chairman Randy Lerner without Houllier's permission.

McAllister told BBC Sport: "I don't think there's any mutiny here.

"There's been little arguments here and there but nothing outside the realms of what happens at most clubs.

"The facts are most football clubs have a rule book which is set by the PFA [Professional Footballers' Association] and apart from little tweaks here and there, it's a standard rule book.

"Mobile phones aren't switched on inside the building and Gerard had this rule when I was a player at Liverpool.

"It's to encourage people to speak to each other rather than be texting and phoning. But when they get to the car park, it's fine.

"I've also never worked under a chairman (Lerner) who's more accommodating.

"I've probably spoken to him more than I've spoken to any other chairman."

McAllister is confident the commitment among the squad will enable Villa to avoid relegation from the Barclays Premier League.

He said: "I've seen some of the players talking about pride, playing for the fans, playing for the jersey.

"They know we're in a bit of trouble and we need to produce.

"I agree some players in other teams are a little bit more hardened. But I don't think it's going to be a problem because players' pride and quality will lift them above it.

"We've got enough quality and goals in the team and we all believe we'll be good enough to come out the other side."

McAllister also denied suggestions that Houllier was losing his appetite for the task ahead.

He said: "Gerard Houllier is a proven manager. I'm working under somebody who's had to make big decisions, won things.

"I don't think he does anything by half measures. One of the things he said to me when he asked me to join him is that there's an opportunity to get a project going.

"It's a club that's got most things in place - the training ground, the stadium, the fans, a squad that's done well in the past - and he's here to try to take it to the next level, to pick up a trophy."

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