Date: 2nd March 2008 at 3:51pm
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Gareth Barry has admitted midfield needs to add more in the goals column if we intend on reaching Europe this season.

Martin O’Neill has commented himself on the lack of goals from our midfield, and he has obviously expected more from Barry and Petrov than he has received so far.

On the official site today, Barry acknowledges this and is determined to put it right during our remaining games.

‘I’ve been thinking the same. I think I need to score more goals.

‘In fact, we’re not doing that as well as we should be from open play. The manager had bought it up with me and I am determined to respond.

‘If I – and our other midfield players – can get four or five goals before the end of the season we’ll rack up the points and hopefully get into the Champions League.’

As the season has progressed it seems the like strikers have taken it in turn to be on form, and the only goalscoring constant in many ways has been Martin Laursen. As Barry says if midfield can chip in with 4-5 goals between them that could easily translate as meaning we secure at least another 9 points, and given the points we have dropped so far that would make a huge difference to our final push.

‘We are competing with the likes of Liverpool and Everton but we’ll give it our best shot. We are determined to finish this campaign on a high.

‘I can’t praise our boss Martin O’Neill too highly for the way he has given us confidence. There is no doubt that I got back into the England side because of the way he transformed my game.’

Barry is also full of praise for our youngsters, especially Gabby and Ashley:

‘Both Gabby and Ashley have been superb for us this season and they have given us a great chance of qualifying for the Champions League – or at the very least getting into the UEFA Cup.

‘For me it’s great to be part of a club with so many England players and hopefuls. I know from my own experience that you can break in at a young age.

‘For young players, being in contention for an England place can put pressure on you. I know how it can be a bit frustrating if you are not picked.

‘I think I can help them out with my advice and lead by example on the pitch. Mind you those lads are so confident they don’t need my words of wisdom. But I am sure if they keep playing the way they are they will get their chance.

‘At the moment Aston Villa is a great option for Mr Capello. Besides me and those two there are another five who are trying to impress the England manager.’