Gerard Houllier must be starting to think managing Aston Villa is easy. First came the victory over Blackburn in the Carling Cup and then yesterday one of his star players, Ashley Young, suggested he is keen to sign a new deal with the club.
There was much speculation about Young's future during the summer and the winger, who has started the new campaign in fine form, was often linked with a move to Tottenham Hotspur, which many people thought was linked with Martin O'Neill's sudden departure. However, yesterday Young intimated he was happy to stay at Villa. "I've always said that I'm willing to sign a new deal," he said. "If it comes along, then I'll be delighted to sign." It is a lift for the club that has lost Gareth Barry and then James Milner in recent times.
Young has been impressed already with the impact Houllier has made in his short spell. "When things change at a club, you are looking forward to a new regime with the new manager coming in who has his own way of thinking," Young said. "Us players have to adapt and I think we've done well doing that so far. The changes have been small as you don't want to change things too quickly at the start."
Young scored twice in Villa's 3-1 win on Wednesday and feels the players have taken confidence from reaching last season's final.
"Going in at half-time being behind to Blackburn was disappointing," he said, "but it just shows the team spirit and character that we've had over the years in that we can bounce back from anything. It was vital to get off to a winning start under the new manager and get us into the next round of the cup."
Meanwhile, Houllier's counterpart at Blackburn, Sam Allardyce, was less satisfied following the midweek result. "We can't find the right determination to hang on to a lead," he said. "We' ve gone in front six times out of seven and only one won game. "We will have to keep working at the defensive side of our game."