Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday November 20 2006
Wilfred Bouma says the new defence can play a massive part in bringing back European football to Villa Park and also says he will carry on building to get fully fit.
'The first couple of weeks of the season were hard for me because I got an injury. I've tried to do my best and work as hard as possible, but now I am back in the side and hopefully I can continue and we can build on this. Yesterday (v Wigan) was a big test. I knew Teale and Cotterill were both fast. I knew before the game one of those players would play. But I came up against both of them and it was a good challenge today. It was good for my fitness. Every winger plays the same but those two play with pace.'
He also says the spirit in the Villa camp is good adding 'We are looking forward to every game, especially the home ones. We'd like to push on in the top six but we don't underestimate any team. If you see the results in the last couple of weeks, it shows that anything is possible. We have got good self-belief. When we play at home in front of our own supporters, hopefully we can grab some more points again.'
And on the subject of defenders, Martin O'Neill has admitted he might have allowed Gary Cahill to go out on loan if not for the injury to the luck-less Martin Laursen
O'Neill said: 'A number of Coca Cola Championship sides asked about taking Gary Cahill on loan and I seriously thought about the idea. With Martin Laursen having done so well and, with Gary injured pre-season and reserve games stretched all over the place, it was a possibility. Ideally it would have been great for him to go on loan for a month and get four or five games under his belt. But you are torn between giving someone the opportunity of getting in proper first team games and worrying in case you do get another injury.'
'As it turns out, that happened with Martin Laursen getting injured and we rearranged things at the back to bring Cahill into the side. I thought Gary Cahill did exceptionally well at Everton, because he went into that game with only a couple of reserve games behind him, and overall he also did very well against Wigan.'
Finishing 'Liam Ridgewell initially got into the side through injuries and stayed in - and it is the same sort of challenge for Gary Cahill. Absolutely. He has things to learn but he has got bags of potential.'
O'Neill also heaped praise on goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen for his contribution against Wigan pulling off world class saves to keep Villa in the game.
Date:Monday November 20 2006
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