Writer: J P Fear
Date:Sunday May 13 2007
Martin O'Neill said the team deserved at least a point after playing their final game of the season at the Reebok Stadium today.
Villa came away with a 2-2 draw, making 19% who voted in our prediction poll correct (69% said win, 3% said we'd lose and 9% didn't care as they were going dressed as cowboys!!!).
The Villa boss said: 'The players have shown a lot of character again and deserved at least a point. I thought we were great again. We scored two fantastic goals that were there for all to see and we showed plenty of guts and character. We were unlucky to find ourselves a goal down after having the better of things in the early stages. But we equalised with a fantastic goal from Craig Gardner and at half-time I felt pretty confident. They took the wind out of our sails by scoring a second and then we just lost it for a little while - maybe ten minutes. But then we came roaring back, scored another great goal and had a couple of chances to win it in the end.'
'Overall I'm disappointed we didn't go onto win the game, but this was a decent point against a side that have qualified for next season's Uefa Cup. We showed an unwillingness to accept defeat and came from behind again. That's been a bit of a trademark towards the end of the season. We've lost just ten games this season and I think there's only three teams above us who have done better than that this season. The truth of the matter is that we've drawn an awful lot of games. But I think the fans will look at how we've finished the season and say it bodes well for next year.'
He has also said that he won't be taking much of a break this summer as he prepares for next season. With a full pre-season to prepare this summer he told the official site:
'It's going to be much better for me and I'm hoping that it will be better for the club. I don't think two weeks is enough time to prepare for the Premiership, but I knew that at the time. It was a case of either going in at the deep end or hanging around while someone else came in and took the job. And a job that I really wanted to do might not have been there for me again. I think overall the extra time this season to prepare, knowing the squad much better than I knew them back in August, should stand us in better stead. Next season we should be better equipped. We may not get off to the same start as this season, but I believe overall we will be better prepared for it.'
Adding about the excitement for the 2007/08 season: 'I think you definitely need a week or two away, but there's a general excitement about wanting to get back to work. Obviously, with the new premises at Bodymoor Heath, it's going to be great. Next week I'd like to get the contracts sorted for people - before I do anything I would like to resolve that. Players who have played this season deserve to take their place before any new acquisitions come in. It would be great to get things resolved so that I'd be getting back here early pre-season with a number of players in tow - I don't want to be charging around in the last couple of days before August.'
Date:Sunday May 13 2007
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