It's still difficult to get away from the England's post-mortem in Saturday's newspapers but an excellent interview with Aston Villa manager Gerrard Houllier is a worthwhile distraction.
Houllier is now just another onlooker as his former club Liverpool lurch through something of a crisis but the Frenchman harks back to his days at the club with alarming honesty - admitting he made mistakes and bought some bad players towards the end of his tenure.
"Gerard Houllier agrees. Agrees that the manager who guided Liverpool to six trophies, who revitalised a club in dire need of his French revolution, was a very different animal to the one who limped on after the âaccidentâ that nearly killed him.
Agrees his players worked under two very different men in his six years at Anfield. While the original version was untouchable, in his words âindestructibleâ, the one who had suffered a dissected aorta was seriously wounded and tired.
So exhausted, in fact, that his judgment became impaired. He admits for the first time, in what is his first major interview as the new manager of Aston Villa, that he did make poor signings.
Just as he admits that the reason for his departure from Anfield was because his employers no longer âtrustedâ him.
âI think Rafa Benitez had been lined up to replace me for some time,â he says.
But as he sits in his smart office at Villaâs training ground, wearing a broad smile having just welcomed Robert Pires to the club, there is not a hint of bitterness in his voice.
Partly because the good memories still far outweigh the bad, because of players like Carragher, and partly because he can appreciate why Liverpool made the change. His mistake, he concedes, was coming back too soon. Far too soon.
It was while watching his Liverpool team play Leeds in October 2001 that the accident happened. But after 11-and-a-half hours of major heart surgery that followed that day, he was back at his desk within five months.
âFor an operation like that, I probably needed 11-and-a-half months off,â says Houllier. But I came back sooner because we were at a critical stage of the season. We were trying to progress to the latter stages of the Champions League. We were in the title race.
âI spoke to Phil Thompson and I thought, âIf I can make five per cent of a difference it has to be worth itâ. We still finished second in the Premier League. But in the March I felt dead. I was so tired.
âMaybe if I had waited another four or five months it would have been different. I wasnât right. I think some of the signings I made werenât good, because I was tired. I made better signings at Lyon, thatâs for sure.'
He believes it was not until he was at Lyon, guiding them to a second successive French league title, that he completed his recovery, five years after the accident."