Writer: J P Fear
Date:Saturday May 2 2009
Martin O'Neill says that Villa fans would have accepted 5th and Europe at the start of the season but having flirted with the top four he feels disappointment from fans.
Not to go over old ground but surely if he had taken the UEFA seriously this year AND we'd finished 5th and were in Europe again, there wouldn't be the disappointment?
O'Neill said: 'I think almost having qualified again for Europe has been overlooked. Because we flirted with the top four for a couple of weeks, people have had a bit of false expectation.'
He qualifies that by saying 'You realise the calibre of team we are up against when you see them contesting the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League each year - and you see the calibre of player those top four clubs possess.' (which is difficult to argue with really!!!) 'It is not just the individual player, because we have a number here that would grace any team, but it is the size of the squad. But we are going to qualify for Europe this season again and, in terms of development, I think the players have done brilliantly.'
He also says along with Fulham Villa have used the fewest players and there is tiredness now creeping in. He has given the midfielders an extra day off this week to rest.
The Villa boss also points to our poor home record as the major problem this season but strangely says it hasn't been form, it has been bad luck?
Talking to the official site he explained: 'During the course of the season, we didn't pick up enough points at home. At the start of the current campaign, you'd have thought that was unlikely. We have won more than our fair share of matches away from home and that speaks volumes for the team. We are not frightened of going to any arena and doing well. Therefore, we have won a significant number of games on the road.'
Adding, 'My own view is that we have been unlucky in a few home games. There have been matches we should have won but we drew. I'm particularly thinking about the games against Wigan, Stoke and Fulham. We should have had six extra points. They are very important at the end of the season.
'From that viewpoint, I think we can improve our home form next season. Some people, cynically, will say - that's not too difficult.'
Happy to say there is no blame towards the fans this time though as he says the atmosphere has been 'fantastic - really brilliant.' And assures us the team do love playing at home 'The fans have come to watch us in their droves and they have stayed with us. They have been brilliant.'
One could almost say terrific...!? :o)
Date:Saturday May 2 2009
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