Date: 9th February 2008 at 6:20pm
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Martin O’Neill was ‘naturally delighted’ after Villa saw off Newcastle United 4-1 at Villa Park.

He added, on the official site, ‘It was fantastic stuff in the second half. I thought the first half was getting away from us a bit and there was a definite hangover from the Fulham game. I thought the substitutes had a big impact and made a real contribution. They added more drive and determination to our play – but that’s not knocking Olof and Stiliyan who have been big players for us this season.’

Hopefully Martin will stick with the players that made such a massive impact for us today. He also singled out Freddy Bouma and John Carew for praise.

‘I was delighted for Freddy scoring his first goal. Unlikely is the best word to describe it. When I saw him shoot with his right foot, I thought ‘here we go, it’s going to take a month to reach the goal’ but fair play, it was an important strike. After that went in, we were terrific. ‘

He said Carew was ‘fantastic’ and suggests he has now set the benchmark by which he will be judged saying he now needs to be like that on a regular basis.

Meanwhile Kevin Keegan on Sky was honest about the loss, made no excuses and admitted Villa bullied Newcastle.

‘I had no complaints about the first half at all. I said to the players we had built a good platform from which to go on and win a football match. Instead of going a goal down like we have been doing in most recent games, we went in front and handled everything Villa threw at us.’ He told his team after the first half to just keep things tight for the first part of the second half and added,

‘Before you knew it, we were getting bullied, especially by Carew and Harewood, and they were basically doing what they wanted to do with us at times. That was the disappointing aspect and that is what I told the players. There were still some very good performances but who cares when you get beat 4-1. We got the lead today and still couldn’t go on and win so you sort of run out of excuses in that department. When you look at the second half the positives are forgotten because of the negatives and we are very fragile at the moment.’