Writer: J P Fear
Date:Monday February 12 2007
Stiliyan Petrov says the team have to start taking their chances, especially on the road.
The Bulgarian midfielder said after the Reading game: 'I thought they were quicker to the ball in the opening period and they scored the important first goal. We had a few chances in the first half and we couldn't score - that was key! In away games if you get one or two chances you need to take at least one of them and we didn't. The second half was completely different. We put them under pressure and reacted quicker. Again, we had chances and we missed them too. They then punished us with the goal at the end.'
'We knew how they would play. They work hard and they're aggressive as a team. We tried to match that but it just didn't happen for us on the day. I thought Shaun Maloney's performance on his debut was a positive. It didn't surprise me because I know all about him from our time together at Celtic. He is a great player and will be a real asset for this football club.'
Meanwhile Olof Mellberg says they need to rally and start picking up points in order to finish in the top half of the league.
The bearded wonder said: 'Picking up points away from home is definitely important to gain a top half finish. The fact we're not at the moment also puts pressure on us at home. It is really important to have a good home record and we need to keep that going and hopefully we can get a few points away from home because the performances are there. Reading might have been the better team in the first half but I still feel we had the better chances. Apart from the goal, they didn't really have that many.'
And even Villa skipper Gareth Barry has joined in and says: 'The main aim at the start of the season was to improve as a team and I think we have done that. Expectations started to grow when we made our fast start to the season but it was important that no-one here got carried away because it is a long season and doesn't always go smoothly. If we can continue playing good football and pick up some results along the way I'm sure we'll end up in a healthy position at the end of the season.'
Villa don't play again now until March 3 at Craven Cottage as we look to improve our away record against Fulham.
Date:Monday February 12 2007
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