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Villa boss Houllier: Carling Cup kicked off Liverpool success

New Aston Villa boss Gerard Houllier admits the Carling Cup will always be special to him.

It is fitting that Houllier's first game in charge of Villa is in the League Cup - a trophy he won twice as Liverpool manager.

The Reds' triumph in the competition in 2001 kickstarted a trophy-laden season and the Frenchman says the confidence it gave his players cannot be underestimated.

"It took a lot of pressure off the team," he told Villa's website. "It came as a relief. We won something. If you remember, even Chelsea, their first [Premier League] title came after winning the League Cup.

"I remember speaking to [Jose] Mourinho and saying don't neglect that cup because if you win it then on the back of that your confidence will grow.

"This is exactly what happened to us. After that we practically won everything."

 Click here for the best Aston Villa coverage on the 'net. All your Villans news and gossip in one spot.

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