Gerard Houllier labels Aston Villa’s clash with Blackburn as a ‘must win’

Houllier plans to bring in talent from abroad to stengthen squad

Gerard Houllier insists Saturday’s home tie with Blackburn Rovers will be crucial in shaping Aston Villa’s season.

With Villa just three points off  the bottom three of the Premier League table, Houllier’s side are desperate for a win to help lift them clear of the relegation battle and the manager believes it is a must win fixture.

"This is a vital game for us. A huge game. We definitely need a win,” he told reporters.

"We haven't been playing for 15 days and we are playing a team that will be with us in the relegation battle to the end so a win at home is very important.

"The players have got the belief to get out of trouble. They have improved a lot.

"Since the turn of the year, the team in terms of performances and results have done much better.

"They keep working hard and progressing - but what matters now is wins, whether we play ugly or we play well. We need to win the games."

Houllier is confident Aston Villa will not be relegated and has called on his players to put a run of form together and push up the table, he said:

"The league is so tight that, if you do win a game, you've got 33 points and you are probably in the top half.

"The way it is, it is very tight for everyone and we have got to live with that.

"If you think about it, West Brom were in the European positions at one stage.

"Apart from the big guns, you have a massive group of teams together and, on their day, every team can beat every team. Wolves beat Manchester United, for example."

After heavy investment in the January transfer window, Houllier has revealed that he plans to invest further in his playing staff.

The January signings of Darrent Bent and Jean Makoun showed Aston Villa’s ambitions to bolster the squad and Houllier has spoken of his desire to develop the club’s scouting network to bring in the best players from across the world.

"Football has become open to Europe and open to the world because you have a lot of Brazilians in the Champions League over the last six or seven seasons," he said.

"You need to know now that all clubs buy players from all over the world.

"I believe we were one of the last clubs to put out 11 English players in one game.

"But we've got to understand there is not a Europeanisation but a globalisation of football now.”

He added: "I think this won't stop. The main thing is to be able to get some young players from other countries and bring them here early because they would get the feeling of the club.

"We have a few players, one from Austria and one from Hungary, and I think those players are very much part of the Villa youth team."

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