Date: 24th February 2009 at 11:09am
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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!?


23 Replies to “MON Says Fans Will Understand Priority”

  • ha ha take up knitting! winning silverware is important… I just dont know anymore, taking 4th would be a huge achievement the way its all been monopolised the past few years.

  • We have put all eggs into one basket, so we better bloody finish top4 now or this season was a complete waste of time.

  • Omg, yes, it is still the matter of CL. Why we have a small squad? Think! What would you do as a manager?

    You want player A, he is the right player for your style of play.
    But player A claims that he would be interested, but only in case of playing CL. May be he is playing CL currently with another english/non-english team and do not want to move to non-CL team.
    Would you buy another players, who you do not want but only for squad depth or you will try to achieve qualification for CL with perpective of getting the players you really want?

    IMHO it is better to wait to qualify for CL instead of buying dead wood squad-depth players…are you sure that this NEW squad-depth dead wood should win in Moscow? For me, it is better to play Bary Bannan or Marc Albrighton (players with huge potential) and give them chance instead of to play with NEW squad-depth players used only for that situations. And you know, that we have currently those players like Hare or Salifou (it is our luck that they were not so expensive like Spurs or ManCity players).

  • I agree with what he is doing but what was the point in going through the intertoto ********* and adding games to our fixture list then?If we had finished 5th and qualified automaticaly then great but we went out of our way to get into the uefa cup.P.S if i was spending the money on going to russia i would be severly *****ed off,4th place or not.

  • Im afraid to say this shows how far we still have to go,The real big clubs compete all out in europe and the league.Say what you want but even arsenal are still doing it this season and they also have injuries.

  • B6_COMPANY – very good point mate. This squad will do no favours for the club, and their ticket sales will suffer as a consequence. I will seriously reconsider parting with anymore cash should we get past CSKA. I wonder what the generals PR spin will be?

  • Who knows? MON could be hailed as a genius come Friday morning if we get a result. It will be tough, we will have no width in the side, and it’s a chance for the fringe players to impress. Call me deluded if you wish – but looking at the squad we are taking to Moscow I feel we could progress to the next round… Who knows?

  • I’m not having a go samjdavies1, I’m asking the questions, that is why at the end I say I don’t have the answers. I just maybe supported football in a different era where you didn’t field 3rd string teams when you decided you’d had enough of a competition!

  • Sorry guys but the UEFA cup means jack nowadays. I feel for the travelling fans though. The respect and recognition all comes from the CL. The chance to establish ourselves is just too good to miss. What would happen if Barry/Gabby/young did their knee ligaments on that joke of a pitch??? It would be “Mons this, Mons that”. Lets give our all to finish 4th and then at least we’ll keep our Best, experienced player.

  • I think many Villa fans are thinking with their hearts when they should be thinking with their heads. There are pretty obvious answers to most, if not all, of the questions above. For instance: “Why did we enter the Intertoto in July etc, etc…” The answer to this is so obvious as to be painful: nobody KNEW in July that we would be in the top four with a reasonable chance of staying there. If we had not been in with a shout of getting a top four place, of COURSE MON would have picked his strongest squad for the UEFA cup. Please guys – do try to think this stuff through before ranting!! :o)

  • And as for ‘guaranteeing’ that we DO get that top four place – nobody can do that either. It isn’t about guaranteeing anything, it’s about calculating odds and taking sensible decisions. I hope some of you guys don’t take up poker … you don’t bet half your bankroll on a pair of deuces, but you might on a royal flush. There’s no guarantee that you’ll win there either, but it’s a damn good bet!!

  • jesus what happened? I go away on a shoot for a week in the mountains and I come back and we lose to everton and chelsea and tie cska? I blame it on me, the only games i haven’t watched this year are those 3 and middlesbrough and newcastle.

  • Mon knows that even 4th may not be good enough because of the qualification process and the absolute horror of horrrs that would see Arsenal win the CL, finish 5th and still take our qualification space. Trust in MoN he has taken us this far and it is the best time I have had as a Villa fan in almost 20 years.

  • Come on Fear, if you take up knitting what will you knit? I happen to know that despite your folics status, you don’t like woolie hats. Surely anything bigger will just take too long 🙂

  • it is on some channels los_angeles_villan but not in England, think Setanta Ireland have it. There is a thread in 100% about it not being on tv / where it is on.

  • Fear you are having a go. And the majority of fans here disagree with that and agree with MO’Ns decision in playing the ‘3rd string’ as you delightfully put it. Me thinks you should knit a hat that goes all the way over your head to hide your lack of MO’N support should we progress tomorrow!

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