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Martin O'Neill has again withdrawn Stiliyan Petrov from the firing line due to his woeful form.

Petrov managed to break back into the first team after his previous 'rest' and was given a good run again until O'Neill finally had enough and subbed him against Newcastle.

He then failed to make the bench for our Reading victory, and if you take O'Neill's words on the surface, then it's unlikely he will figure for the next few matches.

Speaking to the Evening Mail, O'Neill said:

'I've decided to take Stiliyan out of the firing line to get his confidence back.

'All too fleetingly he's shown the really great form and, to be fair, we've played him out of position because he can go and play off the centre-forward.

'At the moment, he's not involved, but he's got a great determination about him. I know him very well and he's very strong mentally.

'He knows himself he's capable of so much more when his confidence is high.'

In numerous threads on the forum Petrov's form has been discussed and the issue of 'confidence' on those 'wages' will always be a bug bear with fans.

But this is the second demotion of Petrov so you wonder how many chances he can have left to find the confidence and some proper form. At least O'Neill has shown those people who thought in his eyes Petrov could do no wrong, that he won't allow the team to suffer for one player.

That bodes well for the future.

Click here to join in the debate on the club forum.

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Writer:Mike Field
Date:Tuesday February 26 2008
Time: 3:18PM


"At least O'Neill has shown those people who thought in his eyes Petrov could do no wrong, that he won't allow the team to suffer for one player." He has ?? What has he been doing then all season long when Petrov's form has been shall we say, not too good?? All O'Neill has done is finally admit Petrov as he did last season has become such a liability he has to be dropped. He ahs just confirmed exactly what those who have criticised Petrov's inclusion have always said, he gets in the team when he doesn't deserve his place. Even now O'Neill is making excuses for him. Its amazing how quickly he can sell so called dead weights like Sorensen, Hughes, Samuel, Davies, Ridgewell, Cahill and co yet Petrov plays on regardless. Dual standards methinks
26/02/2008 15:42:00
nice title there.
26/02/2008 16:21:00
We should now see if he can do a Harewood (who MON has handled so well) and come back through hard work into reckoning. Rather than a fortnight off or excuses about injuries or homesickness and then playing again.
26/02/2008 18:53:00
Last time Villa brought him back against Bolton away the whole team was off form and because he was no worse than anyone else he won his place back. Others come in (Maloney, Harewood) and do really well and still find themselves on the bench. MON is a great manager and I know nothing compared to him. But I do know Petrov should not be brought back unless he has found his form in the reserves. He has to earn his chance, not be rested and walk back in. 3 points can be the difference between Europe and no Europe. The 30 odd games he played last season mean we could have even made Europpe last year but for him. Our end of season run without him being a case in point. Earn his place and come back - fine. Otherwise leave it to the players showing genuine form please.
26/02/2008 21:19:00
aha! I'd almost predicted a response from 'AVFC48' when I saw the sarcastic headline and subsequent opportunity in "comments" to have a pop at one of our own players...... should have put a bet on it!! By the way - earning money does not make you immune to feelings or equate to mental strength. If John Gregory had figured that out we may not have lost Collymore, Southgate, Ehiogu, Yorke, Bosnich.....
26/02/2008 22:20:00
'48 change the record man, you are such an old school Villa moaner, always wanting a scapegoat. Your argument is lightweight as all the players you listed were cr@@ apart from Cahill who was 5th choice. Petrov did look 'finished' against the Toon, but I think should be given another chance and Harewood/Davies are excellent examples of turning it around after ropey starts. Neil Lennon said recently he was an amazing player for Celtic, there is a good player in there - let's see what happens in the summer. All managers have had dual standards with certain players. I would say Barry and Gabby have been played with slight injuries and fatigue this season when perhaps other options should have been considered. MON always plays the same (his strongest) team whatever. Like it or lump it - that's what he does.
27/02/2008 01:37:00
Feed the Hare and he will score..
27/02/2008 05:41:00
If the Newcastle and Reading communities here on Vital had more contributors, I wonder how they'd react to all the moans on Vital Villa? Sorry, avfc, this isn't strictly aimed at you, but it is what made me think it. They'd probably be as *****ed off at our team as they are of their own.
27/02/2008 08:36:00
Petrov is a villa player and as such we all want him to succeed. I am one of his biggest critics because he has been woeful in most of his time here. I sincerely hope that he does come good eventually though, but he has had almost two seasons now and to say he has failed to impress is the understatement of the century.
27/02/2008 13:21:00
Clever management by MoN, give him a break, get his head right, bring him back for the last two-three games and flog him on the back of a couple of good performances, magic! No point slagging him, its not his fault he can't cut it in the Prem. By the way tarzan, since when did playing for the dominant team in any weak league prove what an amazing player anybody was? If we only had to play 3rd division teams for most of the season we could probably see petrov dominate games
27/02/2008 20:53:00
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