Writer: Mike Field
Date:Sunday November 9 2008
Martin O'Neill was bitterly disappointed this afternoon as Villa failed to hold onto a point against Middlesbrough.
Speaking on the official site after the match O'Neill was left cursing the late winner from Boro, stating 'If you can't win a game, make sure you don't lose it.'
What is very evident is that yet again we have thrown away points unnecessarily. Stoke, Newcastle and now Boro are three games that should've brought us points but we just didn't turn up again.
I don't fall for the 'tiredness' aspect, they are paid, and paid well to be fit. And tirdness cannot explain why we are still a team of two halves who lack consistency when it comes to performing for 90 minutes.
What is even clearer is how much we miss a natural goal poacher and any option upfront.
If Carew and Gabby are misfiring in any game our only choice is Harewood, who simply hasn't regained the form he showed as a super sub last season.
This has to be addressed in January, Delfouneso isn't the answer yet and although it would be nice to see him more often, he's development won't be aided if he's asked to perform and win us matches instead of learning and making mistakes.
By no means is our season over, and we aren't suddenly knee jerk relegation candidates, but we are well placed to make a challenge for the Top 4 - even if Top 6 is more realistic - we have problems that need to be addressed, because I'm sure I'm not alone in not wanting to look back at the end of the season to games like this where we clearly dropped points and our final league placing reflects blown opportunities.
Anyway, enough of my rambling, it's O'Neill's turn.
'It was frustrating. I am very disappointed. We lost a game we never should have lost.
'We didn't play particularly well but we still had enough chances to win the match.
'We didn't take them and then you always run that risk at the other end.
'Saying that, there wasn't any danger whatsoever and then Steve played the ball back and handed them a really easy goal - with not much time for us to come back.
'I said in the dressing room after the game 'if you can't win the game in the last five minutes, make sure you don't lose it.'
'Mistakes are so often punished in this league.
'You have to hold your hands up if you've been carved open but both goals were poor.
'The second goal was obviously poor but so was the first one too. We should have been able to deal with that.
'The ball was played into the area and, of course, there is a bit of danger but it was something we should have been able to deal with.
'We got the lift with the equaliser and I felt we could go on to win the game.
'We got the momentum going early in the second half. Gabby produced a great run and it would have been a superb goal to score from such a tight angle.
'Then James saw the goalkeeper make a fantastic save and Marlon got clear but couldn't get a shot off.
'Overall, we shouldn't have lost it.
'We had a let-off when they had a shot, Brad spilled and Alves followed up and missed. I then thought we could go on and take the game. But it failed to materialise.'
Date:Sunday November 9 2008
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