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MON Says Fans Will Understand Priority

Martin O'Neill says the Champions League is 'everything' to Villa this year having announced a weakened squad (Click Here for the squad details) for the UEFA Cup.

The Villa boss explained:

'We want to keep momentum going in the Premier League - an opinion I am sure Villa fans would echo. But we don't really have the size of squad that Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal can call on. That's not being defeatist - that's just being realistic.'

Bafflingly adding, 'None of the players mentioned the first leg against CSKA Moscow as an excuse for the Chelsea defeat - but I will.'

'We have to try and please Villa fans but I am sure they would think that the Premier League - which can help drive you into the Champions League - is the holy grail. It seems strange I know but had we been seventh, eighth or ninth, let's say, in the table, it would have been a different outlook. Chasing a top four spot though - to get you a place in the Champions League - is everything.'

Just a couple of questions,

1) Who is responsible for the size of the squad?
2) Could the fact that we weren't going to take the cup competitions seriously this season not have been declared before the loyal fans spent a fortune on getting over to Moscow to watch the game?

I don't have the answers, just seems strange that winning silverware isn't amongst our, or indeed any clubs priorities. Without being negative what happens next season when we are in the Champions League, do we then all of a sudden get a squad big enough or do we carry on not taking other games seriously?

Football is a strange old commodity these days, finishing 4th not so long ago used to be losing, now it is massive. Success used to be silverware or coming first. Guess I'm just getting old and am starting to feel cheated that all that matters is money and the only way to get money is getting into the Champions League. I'd take the old European Cup, a cup for champions and champions alone over this modern world of footie, maybe it is time for me to take up knitting instead.

Fingers crossed we can now finish in the top four, if not .... gulp.

Stoke is now a MUST win!?




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The Journalist

Writer: J P Fear Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Tuesday February 24 2009

Time: 11:08AM

Your Comments

A kick in the teeth to every fan that spent time/money or both on our push for 5th last season. Thanks MON, if we dont finish top4, most of us will expect answers.
young_jonah
ha ha take up knitting! winning silverware is important... I just dont know anymore, taking 4th would be a huge achievement the way its all been monopolised the past few years.
krisvilla
We have put all eggs into one basket, so we better bloody finish top4 now or this season was a complete waste of time.
young_jonah
Omg, yes, it is still the matter of CL. Why we have a small squad? Think! What would you do as a manager? You want player A, he is the right player for your style of play. But player A claims that he would be interested, but only in case of playing CL. May be he is playing CL currently with another english/non-english team and do not want to move to non-CL team. Would you buy another players, who you do not want but only for squad depth or you will try to achieve qualification for CL with perpective of getting the players you really want? IMHO it is better to wait to qualify for CL instead of buying dead wood squad-depth players...are you sure that this NEW squad-depth dead wood should win in Moscow? For me, it is better to play Bary Bannan or Marc Albrighton (players with huge potential) and give them chance instead of to play with NEW squad-depth players used only for that situations. And you know, that we have currently those players like Hare or Salifou (it is our luck that they were not so expensive like Spurs or ManCity players).
Majkee
Come on Fear, re:"1) Who is responsible for the size of the squad? Yep, squad should be bigger, but now your having a go at the manager whose key to getting Villa into the TOP 4 has been using the same set of players? I know no one should be untouchable, but why the sour face? How much do you think Spurs (with a squad the population of a Mumbai slum) and their fans would love to be in our position. 2) Could the fact that we weren't going to take the cup competitions seriously this season not have been declared before the loyal fans spent a fortune on getting over to Moscow to watch the game? - If you support the team, you support the team. I do think there is a divide between young and older fans though - with the former wanting to see great teams and great players from around the world playing at VP, and the latter wanting to see silverware - even the two-bob carling cup over a CL place! hilarious. The monopoly is due to a lack of a european wide salary cap, if every team had the same to spend on wages (not transfers) then parity would be restored at the top 4 would be more open, and silverware would be prioritised once again. ahh melancholy.
samjdavies1
£2000 spent on 2 trips to prauge and hamburg think i would have liked to know this a little early
B6_COMPANY
I agree with what he is doing but what was the point in going through the intertoto ********* and adding games to our fixture list then?If we had finished 5th and qualified automaticaly then great but we went out of our way to get into the uefa cup.P.S if i was spending the money on going to russia i would be severly *****ed off,4th place or not.
lerneravfc
Oh lord Istanbul...
bazzah
Im afraid to say this shows how far we still have to go,The real big clubs compete all out in europe and the league.Say what you want but even arsenal are still doing it this season and they also have injuries.
lerneravfc
B6_COMPANY - very good point mate. This squad will do no favours for the club, and their ticket sales will suffer as a consequence. I will seriously reconsider parting with anymore cash should we get past CSKA. I wonder what the generals PR spin will be?
Stig
hey all. im delighted to meet fellow villa fans. im new to this sight and wanted to give my ten cents. the team looks tired. although i agree MON needs to rest a few players, he should have at lease put some of them on the bench. he has given us virtually no chance on thursday in my opinion. we will need a real act from the man upstairs. if we are to pull a result out.
Irishvillian
Who knows? MON could be hailed as a genius come Friday morning if we get a result. It will be tough, we will have no width in the side, and it's a chance for the fringe players to impress. Call me deluded if you wish - but looking at the squad we are taking to Moscow I feel we could progress to the next round... Who knows?
bazzah
The reserves have been doing well in their own right. A score draw could see us through. We could win the Uefa this year and for the next 5 years and still not qualify for the Champions League because we couldn't attract the calibre of players. MON is doing it right. We haven't got Abramovich's billions so this is the best way forward.
Villan444
I'm not having a go samjdavies1, I'm asking the questions, that is why at the end I say I don't have the answers. I just maybe supported football in a different era where you didn't field 3rd string teams when you decided you'd had enough of a competition!
The Fear
People are saying we are giving up on silverware!? If we enter our full squad and get a key injury that stops us from taking a top 4 place then we will not be able to build on our squad as well in the transfer window. In the long run this is the better decission, we gain the fourth stop (now with a better chance) and strengthen in the summer which gives us a better chance for silverware in later seasons. I completely agree with MON!
overlooked_villan
Sorry guys but the UEFA cup means jack nowadays. I feel for the travelling fans though. The respect and recognition all comes from the CL. The chance to establish ourselves is just too good to miss. What would happen if Barry/Gabby/young did their knee ligaments on that joke of a pitch??? It would be "Mons this, Mons that". Lets give our all to finish 4th and then at least we'll keep our Best, experienced player.
medzy
I have to say well done Martin, simply putting players on the bench doesn’t rest them the travel, the being away from home, the having to be ready to come on at any time from the bench means it is nothing like a rest. With the chance of champions league we have to prioritise the top four finish and plus as a bonus this gives fringe players a chance of playing a true competitive game and getting them up to speed for the final part of the season, plus we all seem to be talking like Moscow is a match already lost . What would we all say if Barry, Gabby or Ashley injured themselves on this plastic pitch and were out for a few months? Alas we have to be realistic the squad is small because Martin is adding to it bit by bit letting a few players at a time bed in, to buy players in en masse creates a situation like at Spurs. Look at Man U when do they go out and buy loads a players, never they just add a few at a time. Let’s support the lads on Thursday and hopefully have a fit fresh team for Stoke the weekend
2fishinatank
I've just checked out our fixtures from now until the end of the season and there is no reason at all for burnout...even with our wee squad!! ;0) The only time we will play Sat/Sun-Midweek is this week (Stoke and Man Sh1ty) After that (especially as we will be out of the Uefa Cup) there is a weeks rest (if not longer for alot of games) before the next game. There can be no excuses now and also we "should" have every single player fit, what with Laursen, Reo and Bouma on their way back. If burnout is even mentioned by any player or management, I will scream!!!!!!
In MON we trust!
I think many Villa fans are thinking with their hearts when they should be thinking with their heads. There are pretty obvious answers to most, if not all, of the questions above. For instance: "Why did we enter the Intertoto in July etc, etc..." The answer to this is so obvious as to be painful: nobody KNEW in July that we would be in the top four with a reasonable chance of staying there. If we had not been in with a shout of getting a top four place, of COURSE MON would have picked his strongest squad for the UEFA cup. Please guys - do try to think this stuff through before ranting!! :o)
BobTheBuilder
And as for 'guaranteeing' that we DO get that top four place - nobody can do that either. It isn't about guaranteeing anything, it's about calculating odds and taking sensible decisions. I hope some of you guys don't take up poker ... you don't bet half your bankroll on a pair of deuces, but you might on a royal flush. There's no guarantee that you'll win there either, but it's a damn good bet!!
BobTheBuilder
jesus what happened? I go away on a shoot for a week in the mountains and I come back and we lose to everton and chelsea and tie cska? I blame it on me, the only games i haven't watched this year are those 3 and middlesbrough and newcastle.
los_angeles_villan
Well lets hope you get to watch on Thurs LA Villan. Doesn't look like we will see it thanks to the money grabbing Russian bar stewards. I'm actually really excited about Nathan 'The Fonz' Delfouneso geting another start. Hasn't he scored everytime he's started?! I am slightly disappointed about the lack of first teamers but I do understand the bigger picture and, who knows, we might just pull off a shock on Thursday - not that any of us will actually see it.
Adam Deuce
i thought it was on setanta...is it not?
los_angeles_villan
Mon knows that even 4th may not be good enough because of the qualification process and the absolute horror of horrrs that would see Arsenal win the CL, finish 5th and still take our qualification space. Trust in MoN he has taken us this far and it is the best time I have had as a Villa fan in almost 20 years.
wittonwisdom
Come on Fear, if you take up knitting what will you knit? I happen to know that despite your folics status, you don't like woolie hats. Surely anything bigger will just take too long :-)
Villan Of The North
fair comments Villanof the North, think I'll have to re-think my plans! lol
The Fear
it is on some channels los_angeles_villan but not in England, think Setanta Ireland have it. There is a thread in 100% about it not being on tv / where it is on.
The Fear
Apart from twice this season fans have voted with their feet and not filled the ground for these matches despite cheap seats . As i said would happen at the start of the season. MON is right to do what he has done
Villan57
Fear you are having a go. And the majority of fans here disagree with that and agree with MO'Ns decision in playing the '3rd string' as you delightfully put it. Me thinks you should knit a hat that goes all the way over your head to hide your lack of MO'N support should we progress tomorrow!
samjdavies1
Well lucky for me I have you to tell me what I'm thinking and doing and for totting up that the majority disagree. The poll had 46% wanting full strength and 30 odd % saying mostly 1st string with a few 2nd string. So not sure I'm totally out of synch with what many are thinking.

End of the day I am still hoping upon hope that we win this, we have the Fonz and Carew who might do some damage, but this is a site for debate, I asked the questions, I said clearly at the end of them that I don't have the answers. If you read what I say in the forums I readily admit only one man has his job on the line so his decision is the only one that counts.

I'll never hide my face or my delight at any win mate, no need to, I've been going long enough to expect the unexpected and love the Villa win lose or draw. Doesn't stop me or any other fan having an opinion and trust me, I'll be praying all Thursday that we progress... not convinved MON will though! I just think if we want CL football next year (which we do) then the players we have need experience in Europe, this is a learning curve and one that could have been valuable to them. Just my opinion dude.... !
The Fear
You mean you are allowing us to have opinions on the forums Mr Fear, blimey the blinkered won't like that :-) I thought you could only praise anything claret and blue on hear and not have a mind of your own.
Hoss The Villain
I like to allow for all opions Hoss as long as ultimately we all agree that I'm right....! :o) It is strange these days, it is almost as if even if you just whisper a slight dissatisfaction or question MON you do get wellied for it. Surely half the fun of footie is in the debating?!?!
The Fear
that was meant to say opinions not opions...!
The Fear
I don't understand it either. The best part of being a football fan is debating your club and what goes on, some people must have a boring time down the pub on matchday. I bet most people on here wouldn't even agree on the same line up or formation for a game, does that mean we are anti MON and want Ellis back?!!
Hoss The Villain
lool i agree HTV
Blitz
 

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