Date: 10th January 2009 at 4:28pm
Written by:

Martin O’Neill has praised the attitude of Gabby Agbonlahor for declaring himself fit despite being rather ill.

Speaking on the official site, O’Neill explained that Gabby has been under the weather all week with the flu and tonsillitis but was determined to play his part in the derby clash today.

‘I think Gabby deserves a lot of credit for playing – and playing the whole game. He was pretty poorly.

‘I am really pleased for him. People are saying it was an own-goal but I think Gabby deserves it.

‘He deserves it purely for being on the field.

‘He’s been ill all week. It started on Sunday just before the Gillingham game.

‘In the morning he was down to play at the Priestfield and then he felt pretty poorly and he’s been the same all week.

‘James Milner has played when not well this season too and their efforts have been fully appreciated.’

As for the match itself O’Neill described it as a ‘really tough’ derby encounter and praises Albion for really putting us to a test.

‘It was tough from start to finish. I expected that prior to kick-off.

‘Even at two-up, I never thought West Bromwich Albion were out of the game.

‘They scored just after half-time and then put us under a lot of pressure.

‘We have done brilliantly to win and obviously I am absolutely delighted.’

The performance may not have been great and there’s no doubting that we can and will play better than that but it’s these types of niggly games that we need to keep securing points in if we are serious about our Top 4 challenge. So far we are doing that and while it may not be pretty to watch I’ll certainly keep taking the results.