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The Final Battle

The Final Battle

Martin O'Neill has gently reminded the players that unless we win this weekend, all their hard work over the last 10 months will have been for nothing.

Villa need to secure all 3 points against Wet Spam to guarantee European football next season, whether via automatic qualification if Newcastle do us a favour, or via the Intertwobob Cup.

There's no doubt this has been a fantastic season for the club, but O'Neill will be somewhat miffed if we fail to finish the job now.

Speaking on the official site, he said:

'In many ways our whole season could be judged on what happens on Sunday. But that's the same for a lot of teams.

'Let's say either Manchester United or Chelsea win both the Premier League and Champions League - does that mean it's been a poor season then for the other team?

'I tend not to agree with that all or nothing approach. In the final analysis I think qualifying for Europe, either automatically or through a shortened Intertoto, would be fine.'

O'Neill thinks that the build up to Wet Spam has been something akin to a Cup Final, and he believes the players need to treat it as such and go all out, especially after blowing it against Wigan.

'I suppose you could say it's something of a Cup Final. We would certainly have had a complete Cup Final feel about it had we got the result against Wigan - it's disappointing that it's not in our hands.

'However we know that anything is possible on Sunday. Everton could get nervous, Blackburn Rovers will now feel as if they're in with a real shout and they've got a tough game at Birmingham City.

'Portsmouth are also still looking to end the League season well. Just a week before the FA Cup Final they'll want to win the last League game.

'There's loads to play for and it's intriguing in that we can still qualify automatically for Europe by finishing fifth - which would be phenomenal - or if the results go against us and we don't play well again we could drop out altogether.

'It would have been fantastic to have gone into this game knowing that almost everything was in our hands and that the only thing we could be done on was goal difference, as long as we won.

'But it's not like that. We have to win the game and if we do so the worst we can do is finish in sixth. That's Europe and that's a terrific achievement.

'I shouldn't have to worry too much about what's happening elsewhere. Of course it would be great if results could go our way, but we have got to look after our own game.'

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

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Writer:Mike Field
Date:Friday May 9 2008
Time: 2:02PM


In the player of the season awards Wilfred Bouma seems to have picked up a huge amount of votes recently.Seems strange to me.
09/05/2008 14:40:00
So if Small Heath porn peddlers win were guarenteed toto footy, if Blackburn win or draw, dildo sales in the premiership will drop, No lose situation if you ask me!
silkie villain
09/05/2008 16:22:00
we just have to coencentrate on winning our game. i don;t wanna be looking at the brum bburn score all afternoon
09/05/2008 16:24:00
Win and we can walk in fields of Gold. Another European adventure starts. Instead of telling the players all their hard work would be wasted tell them the supporters deserve it too.
09/05/2008 17:28:00
Well this is the big one.The lads owe it to themselves, MON and the fans to get the job done on Sunday, at least with a win Intertoto is secured.If they had done the job against Wigan( Kirkland playing spiderman) we would be on the gravy train now just waiting for Everton to mess up.So chaps, don't start wining that this player won't come and I want to be playing European football.Winning football games is not like going to a party, you don't get an invitation and you can't just turn up.....Up the Villa
09/05/2008 18:24:00
Lets hope that MON's message has got through. A tough ask. West Ham on their home patch, final game of the campaign, some key players maybe returning, it'll be tough.
09/05/2008 23:31:00
NRC is going to get some heavy abuse - I hope he keeps his cool. We dont need a ten against eleven scenario.
09/05/2008 23:32:00
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