Football: Little pleads for patience

BORDEAUX v ASTON VILLA

The Aston Villa manager, Brian Little, yesterday warned his side not to hit the panic button if they are to avoid another early European exit.

Little's team are in France for a Uefa Cup first round first leg tie against Bordeaux tonight, with the embarrassment of last season's defeat to Helsingborg still fresh in their minds. Little realises he made a tactical error last term, when the Swedes won on the away-goals rule.

"We have to have a different mentality for Europe," Little said. "The main thing is to be sensible, not get carried away and try and keep as calm as you can throughout the 90 minutes. We won't be worried to keep the ball at the back if they don't come and take it off us. I think we are better equipped than we were this time last year."

Villa took a 19-man squad to Bordeaux - without the striker Savo Milosevic, who is struggling with a heavy cold. Bordeaux will be without their key midfielder Johan Micoud, who completes a European suspension which started two years ago. Their main threat will come from the experienced striking pair of the former French international Jean-Pierre Papin and Lilian Laslandes.

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