O'Neill wants ruling on Portsmouth in Europe

Martin O'Neill has called on the Football Association to end the confusion surrounding Portsmouth's application to play in next year's Europa League.

Portsmouth's progression to the FA Cup final would have earned them a place in Europe had they applied for a UEFA club licence ahead of the March deadline for English teams to lodge paperwork.

The south-coast side failed to do so though, and they have had to appeal to the FA in a bid to be allowed to take part in next year's competition. The decision could have a bearing on whether Villa qualify for next year's Europa League campaign.

If Pompey's appeal fails, the side who finish in seventh will qualify but should their bid succeed, only the top six teams will play in Europe.

Villa could drop into seventh if Liverpool beat West Ham tomorrow and O'Neill wants the situation resolved as soon as possible.

"Would I have a problem with Portsmouth's application to get into Europe? I probably would if we finished seventh, yeah," the Villa boss said after seeing his side beat Pompey 2-1 at Fratton Park yesterday.

"I don't know what the rules are. I didn't check them all. The only thing I ask for is that whatever the viewpoint is, the FA should resolve it before the end of the season to give those people chasing Europe the opportunity to know where they stand.

"If they haven't gone in for it in the first place, or applied for it themselves then you'd have to ask Portsmouth themselves if they should be given the right to appeal. That would be their right as a club. I just don't know the rules."

Michael Brown opened the scoring for Pompey last night before goals from John Carew and Nathan Delfouneso ensured victory for the Villains.

Delfouneso's strike came eight minutes from time and his manager was delighted with the 19-year-old's first Premier League goal.

"I'm very pleased for Nathan," said the Northern Irishman.

"He's an exceptional talent and I think given a bit of luck he can become a really good player for us."

Portsmouth manager Avram Grant singled out David James for praise following the match.

The 39-year-old pulled off a series of fine saves, including one from John Carew's first-half penalty.

"For me it's nothing new. He's played so well all season," said the Israeli.

"He's had maybe one bad game, against Chelsea, but other than that he has played very good and for me he is the best English goalkeeper by far."

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