Martin O'Neill says it could take him several weeks of competitive Premiership football before he gets to understand the squad and decides what the best team for the season is adding: 'I'm loathe to say this a new dawn. It's easy to say, a bit more difficult to achieve.'
O'Neill, who is still being strongly linked with Stilian Petrov and possibly another signing, said
'By tomorrow morning (after the match last night) I should have a fair idea of what the squad consists of. But I won't know that for certain until they have all played some sort of competitive football, and by that I mean the Premiership.'
'I'm loathe to say this a new dawn. It's easy to say, a bit more difficult to achieve. Players who had had a gripe with previous managers might think they now have a chance, but it doesn't guarantee anything. I will have a period here where I don't know precisely what a player can do. I'm an okay judge of that, and I will pick that up quickly. But the game against Arsenal will be totally different from the three pre-season friendlies I've seen so far. I would like to pick this side on its merits, but I might not know the merits of this side for some weeks.'
He also says 'It won't do anyone any harm to play in a position they're unaccustomed to as they might have to be there at some stage. I have tried to get the players physically prepared, now it's a case of them being mentally prepared. I want the players to have more edge about pre-season.'
Manager Tim Sherwood has spoken of his disappointment - and shouldered the blame - for today's one nil loss to Stoke City.
All the stats from Aston Villa (0) vs (1) Stoke, Villa Park, 3/10/15 Att: 33,189
Statistics, damn lies and Aston Villa..
Bit of a mix and match today from manager Tim Sherwood's pre Stoke press conference.
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