Date: 1st November 2007 at 12:05pm
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In a report in The Birmingham Post by Lisa Smith, Martin O’Neill insists that Stiliyan Petrov will settle at Villa and prove his worth.

O’Neill said: ‘Someone made the point as to whether Stiliyan is under more pressure. Stiliyan has a much higher expectation of himself than he has shown here and I have to be perfectly honest because I know what he is capable of doing. I felt that it was an opportunity for him on Sunday. He played the holding role in midfield, and in fact I wouldn’t have remembered ten times in my five years at Celtic that he played a holding role. He was always the one thrusting forward and getting into the penalty area.’

The Villa boss continued of the Bulgarian international, ‘That’s fine at the moment. Let him try to get a bit of confidence back into his game. He got plenty of touches early on and started to get a wee bit of momentum going. And I thought he was still going towards the end so it was pleasing enough. I thought he did okay, and he still has a big point to prove. He wants to prove it and he wants to show people here that he is a much, much better player than he has shown here. And I am hoping that, over the course of time, he will do it.’

I’m not sure that these comments and the previous ones over the past year by the manager, player and team mates really help Stiliyan? This surely puts him once again in the spot light at a time that he is obviously struggling to find any sort of form? The annoying thing with Petrov is his debut was just sublime, so how could he produce that against West Ham at Upton Park but then all but disappear at times? That is a retorical question by the way, I’ve no idea as I was so good at football I’d regularly be picked for the school team. Fair enough it was for the womens team, but hey ho, you take what you are given in life! 😉

Or as Billy Bragg would say, ‘I never made the first team, I just made the first team laugh.’