Dunne: pressure is not on Villa in Eastlands clash

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The Independent Football

Richard Dunne, the Aston Villa defender, believes the pressure will be on his former club Manchester City when the teams meet on Saturday, both intent on securing the final Champions League spot.

Dunne will be returning to play at Eastlands for the first time since being allowed to make a £6m move to Villa in August after nine years at City. The summer signings of Joleon Lescott and Kolo Touré meant his days with City were numbered but Dunne has proved his worth this season by being named in the Professional Footballers' Association Premier League team of the year. Now he is looking to help Villa take another step towards the top four.

The Republic of Ireland international said: "We've got a really big game against City. If we can pick up a win it will be an interesting last day of the season. I'm looking forward to it. It's good that it's worked out that it's such an important game for both clubs. It's something to look forward to and hopefully we can get the right result on the day.

"It's big for City. They're in front of their home crowd. They have to be in the Champions League – so the pressure's probably on them.

"They're expected to go out and win whereas we've come from nowhere over the last couple of weeks and we've given ourselves a chance. We're going in on a high, we've kept a couple of clean sheets, and we've won our last three games."

Dunne hailed the character of the Villa side in bouncing back from the 7-1 defeat at Chelsea to collect 13 points from the last five games. He said: "A lot of people just classed it as the end of our season when we lost to Chelsea. But we still felt there were games there to win and we thought we could keep that challenge going for fourth.

"It's turned out that way. We've given ourselves a chance with two games to go. But then that is the strength of the team: we have always dug in."