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No Excuses Says O'Neill

Martin O'Neill has today said that he has no excuses for the pathetic performance against Boro last night.

Speaking on the official site, he refused to consider the game simply a 'bad day at the office' or any of the other excuse ridden cliches in football preferring instead to question the desire of the team.

That is something he says, he's not had to question too often since joining the club.

'We didn't show phenomenal desire. That's not something I've levelled at the players on too many occasions.

'I just thought we were second for far too long tonight and that was particularly disappointing. Now it's my job to do something about it.

'The players have responded before and now they have to do it again. But last night was the opportunity to put pressure on Everton and Liverpool.'

That's the rub for many fans. Prior to Boro we were 8 points behind the Scouser(s) and we really needed to be looking at taking 6 points from the next two games.

I said previously I didn't personally believe that even 4 points would be enough if we wanted 5th place - and four points is now the best we can seriously look at.

After previous errors against the likes of Fulham, this could be the straw that broke our European back.

O'Neill continued:

'I'm not just going to put this down to a 'bad night at the office'. While it can be a mistake to over-analyse things, I know that we have to do better than that.

'It would be too easy just to brush this to one side - we have to play better. Last night was an opportunity for us, which we didn't take.

'Gareth showed some character from the penalty spot, considering he missed a couple of weeks ago at Reading. I was delighted to have got the goal and was hoping that would be the spur for us to go on and get a victory.

'That didn't materialise and it was a case of more of the same. Throughout the game and particularly in the first-half we didn't create enough.

'You can have spells of 10 or 15 minutes like that in any game, but we just never got going and that was our problem.

'When we did have possession we gave it away too easily and I don't think you can afford to do that in this league.'

Silly, sloppy errors have cost us again. And again it's our lack of consistency that has cost us.

As JF noted in his match report, Young and Maloney starting on wrong sides. Knight starting ahead of Mellberg.

It'll take some effort to bounce back from this and get 5th place now. We need to hope others self implode like we have a few times this season to be in with a shout now.

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The Journalist

Writer: Mike Field Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday March 13 2008

Time: 3:30PM

Your Comments

MON will you start playing some of the fringe players till end of season, eg Routledge, Salifu, Osbourne. As not only will this give 1st team regulars a break it will also show them that their place is not guaranteed.
This is what I like about O'Neill. He says it as it is. No O'Leary type excuses. If we are crap, he says so! He sees the same match as the fans. Good point about looking at one or two of the youngsters before the end of the season. can I throw the name of Erik Lund into the pot as well. Young right back who has impressed me every time I've seen him in the reserves.
Why does MON go on about such a small squad, yet he will not try out the fringe players. He had the bottle to drop petrov, what about doing the same with Barry and Gabby.
one bad game and we question MON on what he is doing, litsen over the past few years we been subjetced to performances like that week in week out. The odd game here or there is frustrating but its only mon's 2nd season, maybe he has bought expectation up a bit too much with the success he has had, cos well done to him, quality manager and the players well done to them to be in the position they are in.
He's still trying to get the players to do what he wants and play his way. Some seem to slip out of focus too regularly. They were time wasting B'stads as soon as they scored. Poor form.
MON is the best manager we have had in long time. But he has bought players in the August and January transfer window and not had much of chance for the fans to see. MON will see how they are progressing day in day out on the trainging , but the vast majority of fans just want to see what sort of competition the 1st team regulars are up against.
we've lost 6 so far this season, we aint tasted defeat on a regular basis, i for one is happy with that stat!. If we've improved so much this season think what next season might hold
Why hasn't he risked the fringe players? Because they're FRINGE players... We were completely in the ring for a champions league place until a few games ago. It's still not lost but increasingly distant... The time wasn't right to risk that aspiration on bringing through undeveloped talent. I do think now would be that time to accept our league position and take that gamble, presuming we get into europe through the toto.
One poor home game and he should drop Barry and Gabby. Knight gave away the goal, Carew had one of his nights off, Maloney was poor, Young had one of his half games, 4 others didn't perform, yet he should drop Barry, our most consistent player all season and captain, and Gabby. Brilliant fcking brilliant. I'll give O'Neill a reason for the poor performance, over played, part injured players because of his ineptitude to build a suitable sized of sufficient quality, squad. Drop Barry, oh my God
Never easy to keep the momentum going week in, week out. So it will be inter toto then?
We need to secure the services of a Defoe or Yakubu and also Arteta or Diarra and a RB of course.
Drop Oneill for the next game.
Saturdays another day, another game. Three points, and they'll all be back as flavours of the week again. Fickle? Who called us fickle?
For me, Maloney was playing because his form was good. I would like t see Routledge given a go on the right??? Fantastic pace on both sides is what we need and tinkering the squad a bit could freshen it up a little. What do you all reckon?
I had the (mis)fortune to watch the game from the posh executive seats in the Trinity, instead of from my usual ST seats in the top of the Holte. The atmosphere in there is desperate but it was possible to actually identify one highlight from the evening, that I probably wouldn't have noted from the Holte. It is also one that we should build on for the future. As the game went on, the crowd starting appealing every decision made by the referee. Every push, shove, tackle, time wasting, possible handball was contested by the crowd. And it was great to hear. Some may remember a debate on here many months ago about making VP an intimidating arena for opposing teams and fans. So whilst the overall atmosphere was generally poor, having 40,000 Villa fans appealing for everything eventually, I believe, led to Steve Bennett making a shocking decision and awarding us a penalty. Without the pressure that was put on him by the fans, I do not think we would have got that decision. So lets have more of it in the future and then maybe we can start getting the decisions that some teams have benefited from for years. So if you are not one of those who vocally get behind the team (and shame on you if you don't) then at the very least lets give every ref some verbal, for every decision for every game. Then like last night we will get results even when we do not deserve them. We are the 12th man, so lets ensure we continue to act like one.
I completely agree with O'Neill and think that the attitude he has taken to the performance and result is one of the reasons I have such faith in him. The miserablist tone of the editorial betrays a total lack of perspective. We have no right to expect that Villa will finish 4th when you consider that Moyes has had years more than O'Neill in his job and had European football to attract players and that Liverpool have the best striker in the League and a massive squad of players with huge reputations. Click on the View Full Table link half way up this page and have a look at the league from 2 seasons ago. Remember how you felt supporting Villa that season. It was awful. 2 Seasons ago. Then have a look at this years table and realise how small a blip last night was. Some fans seem to be hardwired into believing that disaster and disappointment are just around the corner. Just cheer up and count your blessings
Very valid point there about the crowd intimidating the ref voth. We're not where we should be yet, but VP crowds are definitely this season making more noise and creating much more of a hostile atmosphere. It is long overdue, but as long as it continues and builds, I agree, more decisions like the key one that went our way the other evening will become common place.
Good points about the crowd. Remember that this is a direct result of the optimism and belief that O'Neill has brought back to the club.
Well said VOTH, the fans are starting to expect or believe now. The constant expecting disappointment under O'Leary has taken a while to get rid of. UTV
Well hello avfc48 - a poor result so you're back on here, I see. Where have you been when we've done well? Where was your criticism when we were drawing with Arsenal or Chelsea on their patches? What kind of life do you have when the only time you get pleasure from supporting Villa is when they lose?

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