Date: 21st October 2007 at 12:28pm
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Martin O’Neill reacted after the 4-1 loss to Manchester United:

The Villa boss said: ‘We gifted Manchester United goals and you can’t afford to do that.’ Adding on the official site, ‘That was an especially disappointing game, considering the way we played in the opening half an hour. We came out with a great desire, great attitude and great ability. Ashley Young was causing all sorts of problems, Agbonlahor was terrific for us and we got the goal that our play probably deserved.’

‘Then we had a great chance to make it 2-0, didn’t take it and Manchester United are always capable at any given minute of coming into a game. I suppose I would say this, but I thought we gifted them their goals.’

He added we didn’t deserve to be 3-1 down at half time and on the sending offs said:

‘I’ve just seen them back again, not that I’m sure I needed to, and they were really harsh dismissals. The Reo-Coker one was a pivotal moment, because we were trying to get back into the game. Suddenly we were down to ten men and still trying to get there, but then we were down to nine. Effectively the game was then over as a spectacle and that’s disappointing. It can happen, but it’s disappointing. If you deserve to go off, that’s fine, but I felt Reo-Coker’s sending-off was very harsh.’

To be fair, if Scholes had done the same two tackles and not sent off, Martin O’Neill would be saying the ref bottled it, the first tackle was sloppy and players must know they get yellows against top teams especially for things like that? The second tackle was a lunge and in a position where he had no reason to do it, the red card was the fault of the player not the ref.

Sir Alex Ferguson said of the win: ‘The performance is what we should be talking about because it was superb. The flow of our game, the tempo and movement, was outstanding. It was our best performance of the season.’

If United carry on like that, they’ll be Champions again, Chelsea are already out of it, Benitez is too intent on an unnecessary rotation policy to mould a team and unless Arsenal can mount a challenge, the sensible money even this early on has to be on Manchester United, mores the pity! Agree or do you see another team mounting a serious challenge?