Villa Cup Shock But No Awe?
I must admit, I'm not very happy with the official site. They have put up a headline today saying Have no Fear Not very nice for me to read is it?! :o))
Marton O'Neill has told his players not to be 'in awe of Chelsea' as Villa take them on at Stamford Bridge tonight in the 4th round Carling Cup clash.
The Villa boss, who will see his team backed by a 6000 strong Villa faithful tonight, said: 'There should be a terrific atmosphere. To take over twice as many down as last time is unbelievable. It is great, really brilliant. Obviously we are looking forward to the game. It was a great boost to win on Sunday. After the previous week the winning of the game became the most important thing. You would genuinely hope there's no fear in the tunnel. There is no point dwelling on the Liverpool game but there might have been an element of that. The players might say no, and if they do I would dismiss it but there might be something in it.
Adding 'You know people might read something into it, but you would hope at the end of the day that that sort of fear isn't there. Have respect, absolutely, but not fear about playing the opposition- no matter where it is. Eventually, if you are going to get to where these sorts of teams are, and that's the aspirations for the football club, then you cannot look in dread and fear away from home- even at home.'
He also wanrs that Chelsea have the assets to win everything in sight and admits this draw is 'particularly difficult'.
'We all admit that Chelsea would have the strongest squad in European football at the moment, and even some of the players coming in are more than capable of playing every single week in their first team, like Shaun Wright-Phillips and people like that who might step in. Overall, it is Chelsea's competitive streak that makes them so hard to beat at the moment so I don't think it would really matter much that they lost to Tottenham. Obviously it has added a bit of extra impetus and a bit more of an edge but not to the degree that it might reach fever pitch. It is just a big game.'
'They'll want to win, absolutely. They have been beaten and they do not want to be beaten twice on the trot, even if it is in two different competitions.'
Our poll asked what the outcome of the game would be,
36% said it was a (Stamford) bridge too far, we'll lose.
34% said we'd win.
7% predicted a loss after extra time or penalties and 23% said a win after extra time or penalties.
Unfortunately (!!) Jose Mourinho is taking the Cup seriously although he does look set to change the team about: Joe Cole and Shaun Wright-Phillips could both start and Ukraine striker Andriy Shevchenko might also get a look in after missing the last three games with leg muscle problems.
Mourinho said: 'I hope he can play on Wednesday. He trained on Saturday with the team for the first time with no limitation. Now we think if everything goes in the right direction, we think he can play against Villa.'
Chelsea defender Geremi insists Mourinho's side are taking the Carling Cup seriously as they prepare to meet Villa.
'You can see in the league table that this year, Aston Villa are doing well. They have got a new manager who is working well and we respect them. It is one game and a knockout straight away, so we have to go there just thinking to qualify. When you see that there are 10 Premiership teams still there in the competition, it is not possible to get in the final easily. So you take it seriously.'