Writer: J P Fear
Date:Tuesday February 24 2009
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!?
Date:Tuesday February 24 2009
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