Writer: Mike Field
Date:Thursday September 18 2008
Martin O'Neill has pulled no punches in his after match verdict tonight, after seeing Villa take all the luck in the world to beat Litex Lovech earlier.
I'm sure those who travelled enjoyed their time, the fun and beer far more than the match, which to be honest was dire.
Well, dire probably doesn't do it justice, but speaking on the official site O'Neill stated that Reo-Coker's goal was the turning point in the match, and yes it was. At no point did we really look like we would lose the match, but more worryingly at no point did we look like we would win it either.
As the first half progressed, it did look more and more like we would scrape a draw and that would be our lot for the away leg.
'It was anything but easy. It took us a long time to settle down - a lot longer than we had hoped.
'But Nigel's goal just before half-time changed the complexion of the game. That was so important and it was an away goal.
'We won convincingly but it was very difficult.
'Their chance before half-time was vital. They missed and the next minute Nigel equalised for us. But I always felt the away goal was the most important thing.
'As it turns out, things worked in our favour with their two sendings-off. It was comfortable after that. And I was pleased we got the cushion of a third.'
The two sendings off gave us the chance to save some face to be honest. Litex played good football and Tom - Wellington whatever you call him, looked a very useful player.
All they lacked really was the killer finish, when they attacked you didn't think it would end in a goal, so we were never really in danger.
But when we attacked - well today proved how much we miss both Carew and Ashley Young. Gabby cannot play the lone striker role and although he would've looked better had he actually chased for the ball rather than standing there, I still think the headless chicken at speed routine would've made us any more dangerous either.
It just would have looked better, and looked less like he wasn't interested.
'We have put ourselves in a good position but as we have proved in the recent past, nothing is ever simple.
'I am also really happy for the fans who came out to cheer us on. We appreciate their support.'
Oh well, all in all, 3 away goals, tidy second leg at Villa Park but nobody should hide from what was an amatuerish tinpot performance.
Date:Thursday September 18 2008
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