Writer: J P Fear
Date:Friday February 22 2008
Martin O'Neill refused to be drawn on whether Stiliyan Petrov would return to the team against Reading on Sunday after he was substituted for a dire first half performance against Newcastle.
The Villa boss still insists the Bulgarian international could make an impact at Villa and added that he just needs to re-build his confidence.
Trouble is, we've been hearing the same thing for two years now and as much as I'm sure ALL of us would like to see the real Petrov stand up (sorry, just been listening to Eminem!) I'm not totally convinced he will, which is a massive blow as his debut and a few isolated performances since have shown that the player is quality. Maybe the Prem just isn't for him?
O'Neill said: 'I think players, deep down, have a realisation of how they are playing and, to me, the best way to get confidence back is to get out there and start going back to basics again. They should go and practice and, to be fair with Stiliyan, he does nothing but that. He gets himself into a mindset where he wants to be incredibly fit and at times there is a case of over training at times. There is a case for not getting so uptight about things. Stiliyan wants to do really well and feels that Villa have not seen the best of him.'
Rather baffling after two full seasons he added, 'In his defence, Stiliyan has had to try and adjust to a completely new position.'
Surely if the position doesn't suit him he would be best being moved to where he can play at his best?
'He never played this position at Celtic. We had a lot of the ball and he was able to go forward to get beyond the likes of Henrik Larsson, Chris Sutton and John Hartson. He could get goals because we had a lot of the ball. Here he is having to play much more of a sitting role even when he plays on the right hand side. I think all of these things are factors but, at the end of it all, he has the capability of playing better.'
Come on Stan, sod waiting for some confidence, just take the game by the scruff of the neck and get yourself in there!
Date:Friday February 22 2008
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