Aston Villa 1 Portsmouth 0: Redknapp and O'Leary enter a silent partnership

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The Independent Football

Portsmouth skipper Gary O'Neil revealed Harry Redknapp "said a few things that people might not be happy with" after a post-match dressing room inquest into their latest Premiership setback.

Redknapp kept the dressing room doors locked and aired his views to his players for nearly an hour after a 1-0 reversal at Aston Villa which leaves them eight points of safety - nine including goal difference - with only 10 games remaining. Dreadful marking presented Villa striker Milan Baros with a free header to secure his side's fourth home victory of the campaign from a game woefully short of quality. Portsmouth boss Redknapp did not attend the after-match press briefing but O'Neil insisted: "We can still get out of this position.

"We will keep plugging away. The other teams around us didn't get good results so we are still in with a shout. We are still in there with a chance. "West Brom and Birmingham are only a few points better off and they have both got a tougher run-in than us. People are down there because they are not winning games and if we can now find that habit, I am sure we will be okay. "But I was disappointed we didn't do enough at Villa. I thought they were there for the taking. A point would have been a fair result but that's been the story of the season. "We've said in every game that we've deserved something and we haven't got it so we are obviously going wrong somewhere. The lads are down. We have got beaten by another set piece goal which has probably cost us 20-25 points this season."

O'Neil added: "The manager said a few things afterwards that people might not be happy with but we are all men, we are all in it together and it is going to take one hell of an effort to get out of it now. "Everyone needs to stand up and give everything they got. There is no point in throwing tea cups. The situation is desperate. Harry has said we need to do more. "He has told us how we need to do more and we will be working every hour we can to make sure we do better next week."

Defender Linvoy Primus said: "The manager was quite calm and collected afterwards. He doesn't lose it. But no-one is happy about the situation. "It's not worth waiting and stewing on things until Monday. It's better to clear the air and get some things sorted out and push on again for next week and that's what we did." While Pompey look like following Southampton into the Coca Cola Championship, Villa can start to look upwards after opening up an 11-point gap between themselves and the bottom three.

Goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen, who made two fine saves to deny O'Neil, said: "It was important to get these three points. If we had lost and other results gone against us, then we could be facing a different position. "But I believe we can start now looking upwards. Now we have gone past Fulham and we have still got Sunderland, West Brom, Birmingham and Fulham at home. There are plenty of points there and we need to keep going. "We will take one game at a time. We have got two away games coming up at Blackburn and Everton. It is going to be difficult but we have proved a good team away from home. "But hopefully having the 11-point gap gives us a little bit of confidence. It is always a lot tougher to be involved down the bottom. "This has given us a bit of breathing space and we need to exploit it. We can't be happy just sitting above the relegation zone."

An inswinging free-kick from the impressive James Milner set up Baros' first-half decider - his 10th goal of the season - and Kevin Phillips had chances to have at least doubled Villa's tally.

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