Ridgewell determined to repay faith of manager after Liverpool horror show

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The Independent Football

Aston Villa's central defender Liam Ridgewell is determined to erase the memory of last weekend's Anfield horror show when the team return to action against Blackburn at Villa Park today.

Villa went into last Saturday's game against Liverpool having not lost this season. But that record was erased by a three-goal first-half spree by Liverpool. Ridgewell is keen to show that was just a one-off, and he said: "We are determined to bounce back. It is up to us to prove to the manager [Martin O'Neill] that we can come back from that reverse.

"It was obviously disappointing to everyone to lose three goals so quickly in the first half. We now have to go out against Blackburn and show what we are about. Apart from that spell against Liverpool we have been quite solid all season, and we have to get back to that kind of resilience against Blackburn."

As part of Villa's back line, Ridgewell felt the pain of their defeat more than most. With Martin Laursen and Gary Cahill challenging him for his place in the side, Ridgewell is well aware he needs to stay at the top of his game to remain in the side.

He added: "It is great for me to have kept my place and I am grateful to the gaffer for keeping faith in me. But it is up to me to show what I have got to make sure that I keep Martin out, as he is raring to go.

"Gary is also pushing to get back into the team so there is great competition for places all over the pitch. Last season it was a bit of a struggle to find centre- halves because of injury problems, but now there is hot competition for places.

"It is good there are people to fill in if anything does go wrong, but I am determined to maintain my place in the Premiership. I am feeling comfortable playing alongside Olof Mellberg, and the fact we have had a settled back four for a lot of the season could have contributed.

"The gaffer has done big things in his career, so to work with him is a tremendous honour. He is a great manager and long may it continue. He has told the players how he thinks and has instilled his own winning mentality in us as well. That can only rub off and do us good."

Villa's bid to return to winning ways against Blackburn will be aided by the absence of Rovers' midfield talisman Robbie Savage following the thigh injury he picked up against Basle on Thursday. Savage would have got a hot reception from the Villa fans following his spell with their arch rivals, Birmingham City, and Ridgewell said: "There are a few controversial things that have gone on whenever he plays. It is good for us that he will be missing, as he plays well for them.

"The Villa fans love him! Every time he comes here something goes on. But he has done well for Blackburn, helping them to get into Europe; I am sure being without him will be a big loss."