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'If It's Football, It's Vital'

MON Warns This Is Crucial Part Of Season

Martin O'Neill has been talking about the spirit at Villa and the achievements so far.

He said on the official site that the club record 7 away wins was down to playing with no fear. Bit unfair if you ask me, I've done my best to get as many away games as possible.. ok old joke!

He said: 'We go into games away from home with no fear. There is no real worry when we travel. We have respect but no fear and we travel with optimism in every game. The away record is incredible. To win 10 of 13 games away from Villa Park is a tremendous achievement. It's the best away record in the Barclays Premier League and I've got to give fantastic credit to the players for that.'

Adding 'They've gone 13 league games unbeaten. That's fantastic but we need to keep that up. We need to keep that momentum going.'

The Villa boss also says the Everton game was crucial to the season, 'It was an important game for both clubs. We matched results for a while after that so it spurred us on and had the same effect on Everton. If their late equaliser had been the final kick of the match, we would obviously have been very disappointed to drop the two points.' Adding, 'It was a fantastic finish and it was part of our great run away from home this season. Is it a defining moment? This is not the time to say that. You can only call events defining moments once the season is over and everything is settled. As we look at it now though, it's certainly an important moment in our season to date.'

He has also said in the Express and Star that the players returning from international duty that they players have to keep their feet on the ground because the Villa haven't actually achieved anything quite yet. As he said on the tv the other day, you get no real plaudits for where you are in February, only at the end of the season!

On the weekends game v Everton in the FA Cup 5th round he says he doesn't think the Toffees will be that interested in our away record, just the fact a quarter final place in the most famous cup in the world is at stake. The game kicks off at 2:30pm and is on Setanta. MON said: 'We are coming into a very important time now and we want to try to keep the momentum going. That’s really vital. We have achieved nothing, obviously, but that doesn’t mean that it hasn’t been a great, great effort – of course it has. It is important now that whatever comes or goes we try and finish it.'

Meanwhile Craig Gardner says the spirit in the dressing room is what is keeping the Villa riding high. On AVTV he said: 'There is plenty of banter in the camp. Nobody takes themselves too seriously in the squad. We are totally focused on each game but we enjoy a laugh too. We take training and matches extremely seriously but other than that we enjoy a joke and everybody takes the mickey out of each other. The team spirit is sky high because we get on so well. I am not one of the kings of the banter department. But I do give a bit out and get plenty back. That's part and parcel of football.'




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Thursday February 12 2009

Time: 2:36PM

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