Date: 25th November 2007 at 9:44am
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Martin O’Neill applauded John Carew’s goal after Villa faced a tough first half against Boro.

The Villa boss told the official site:

‘This was a fantastic result for us today – especially considering we were second best for much of the first-half when we struggled to get going. The fans were terrific. They kept us going and certainly gave Scott the boost he needed after Wednesday night. It took us a long, long time to get any fluency about ourselves today. But interestingly, though we only had a few attacks in the first-half, we were causing them problems when we did get forward.’

Adding that the team were resilient and showed ‘great old heart’ despite a first half onslaught. ‘We got the goal before half-time, a wonderful goal and that obviously changed events. The second goal just after half-time gave us that nice cushion and in the end we won pretty comfortably. Anybody looking at the result will think we must have been brilliant. We were for the second-half and we had fleeting moments in the first-half. But we’ll take it because we’ve had other games this season where we maybe didn’t get the rewards we deserved.’

Meanwhile under pressure Middlesbrough boss Gareth Southgate said of his chairman Steve Gibson, ‘He’s been fantastic all the way through, especially when times are difficult,’ Adding on Sky Sports ‘He understands what we’re trying to do. I just want to repay that faith, and that’s why afternoons like this afternoon hurt.’

And on the result, ‘It’s massively disappointing. There was nothing in the game for 45 minutes and then we concede two goals in three minutes either side of half-time, and it’s killed the game. If we continue to defend the way we are defending, we are going to keep getting the results we are getting. The players know my feelings. We’ve got to improve on what we’ve done. We’re where we are because we deserve to be where we are. Somehow we have managed to stay out of the bottom three, which is beyond me, but I’m ready to fight and scrap it out, and they’ve got to be as well.’

Images of the game on the official site: www.avfc.co.uk