We are closer as a team, says McAllister

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The Independent Football

Gary McAllister believes Aston Villa manager Gérard Houllier's health problems has led to a "pulling together" of the players after a traumatic season. Members of the Villa squad visited Houllier in hospital yesterday and he is expected to be discharged today.

McAllister feels Houllier's problems have helped players put any dissatisfaction into perspective. McAllister, Houllier's stand-in, said: "We have definitely felt that. There are some good people here and, putting aside all the little footballing traumas we've had and the supposed fracas, the players are concerned. There has been a pulling together."

Houllier has been given the green light to leave the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham only eight days after being admitted with a heart problem. The 63-year-old successfully came through his latest scan and will now undergo a period of rest and recuperation.