Houllier had gone 'stale', says Heskey

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The Independent Online

As Emile Heskey was delivering his damning verdict yesterday that Gérard Houllier had gone "stale" as manager of Liverpool, the club was no closer to securing either of their preferred replacements: Jose Mourinho or Rafael Benitez.

As Emile Heskey was delivering his damning verdict yesterday that Gérard Houllier had gone "stale" as manager of Liverpool, the club was no closer to securing either of their preferred replacements: Jose Mourinho or Rafael Benitez.

Heskey's former team-mate Michael Owen was also busy denying that he had any part in the Frenchman's dismissal.

Heskey, who has left Anfield for Birmingham City for £6m, said: "He is a good manager... But he went a bit stale. That happens with managers."

Owen said: "The board are quite capable of picking the next manager. I don't want to get involved - and nor was I involved [in Houllier leaving]."

Mourinho, the Porto coach, gave no indication of his intentions, preferring to concentrate on tonight's Champions' League final against Monaco.

In Spain, the Valencia president, Jaime Orti, said that he intends to hang on to Benitez despite reports linking him with Anfield. "He will coach Valencia next season," Orti said. "I don't think these rumours have any substance."

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