Writer: Mike Field
Date:Wednesday September 24 2008
In Martin O'Neill's verdict on the pathetic loss to QPR tonight, he revealed he was bitterly disappointed because we had chances to win the game.
He believes we should have won but the fact remains this is twice in two seasons we have fielded players in Cup competitions who seem quite incapable of performing properly.
This may be harsh simply because I can't believe we have suffered déjà vu again BUT since our defeat to Leicester only one player upped their game really...Curtis Davies.
He's gone on to learn the lesson of underestimating opponents, yet it seems a lesson some of his first team colleagues still haven't grasped.
Yes ok, we have the league to concentrate on - cliche alert.
Yes ok, we have the UEFA Cup to concentrate on and we are left with the FA Cup BUT, and this is the big BUT.
We should be challenging for all four.
We may not win the league, we may not win the UEFA, we may not have won the Carling Cup and we may not win the FA Cup.
May not's are not an excuse for capitulating against a squad who effectively won the game with their only shot on bloody target.
I accept Guzan could do little about their goal, otherwise with the few saves he needed to make he performed admirably.
Others also performed admirably and considering the squad was littered with players who form the best hope we have of a Top 4 finish, it's also unfair to blame the reservists really for failing to perform.
So the only question to ask is - why do we seem to perform like pathetic amatuers against so called lower class opposition?
It's not a blip, a one off. Look at this seasons performances against lower class opposition, look at last seasons performances against lower class opposition.
We seem inherantly unable to perform when faced with a team we should obliterate.
I mean no disrespect here to Leicester, Fulham, Wigan, QPR, Lovech etc etc.
It's just a fact, these are teams we should beat easily, these are teams we should - in the case of the league - look at as a means to improve our goal average.
But we struggle, and that has not changed and if we wish to be successful the players need to grow up and realise the fact they earn twice as much in a week as most of the others do in 6 months doesn't mean they don't have to earn their wages. It doesn't mean they don't have to do their jobs and it doesn't mean they can be less committed than they would if they were up against Chelsea.
Maybe our problem is too many player think lower class opposition won't be able to embarrass them as much as the likes of Chelsea, or Man U if they fail to perform.
I've news for them if that's the case. Headlines for tommorrow.
Aston Villa for second season running in Carling Cup are embarrassed a team from a lower division.
Villa Outclassed By Rangers, No Not the Scottish Ones.
Aston Villa To Hit The Carling Again....In The Club Bar Only.
Aston Villa Rely On Carling, Cup To Drown Their Sorrows.
Anyway, a bitterly dissappointed manager said to all bitterly angry fans:
'We had a number of chances in the game, particularly in the first half, but we spurned them.
'You do worry that they might come back to haunt you - but I always felt we were in control of the match.
'While there were moments in the game where QPR looked a fine, talented and entertaining side, the fact is we had enough chances to get through.
'But it doesn't matter how well you play between the penalty boxes, you have to score when you have the opportunity and defend when you have to.
'I have to say there weren't that many times when we had to defend. I remember Craig Gardner getting a block in in the first half and a couple of 35-yarders that didn't really trouble us.
'I feel if we had scored one of our chances in the first half, we would have gone on to win the game. We are really disappointed.
'People will say it's déjà vu from last season but I disagree.
'In terms of the result, I can't argue but in terms of the performance, I think we should have won tonight. I can't remember too many positives from the game against Leicester.'
Sorry Martin, I can't imagine any positives from tonight either so I fail to see the difference.
Date:Wednesday September 24 2008
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