Villa not ready for Europe yet, admits O'Neill
Monday 21 January 2008
Martin O'Neill knows that given the size of his squad, Aston Villa could not cope with the demands of European football.
Villa went into the weekend programme level on points with fourth-placed Liverpool – their opponents at Anfield tonight – and Everton. But the Irishman is aware he has been fortunate to sustain only one major injury during the first half of the campaign in striker John Carew who was out with a knee problem for seven weeks.
O'Neill, who has the smallest squad in the Premier League, said: "We still have time to adjust our squad in time to compete in Europe – but we couldn't cope with that now. We have 22 players to choose from, three of which are goalkeepers, while Steve O'Halloran is out on loan. Our luck has been good in terms of serious injuries. If we had the number of injuries that West Ham have had this season we couldn't cope with that."
Villa could extend their unbeaten league run to six games tonight but captain Gareth Barry is a doubt after bruising his pelvis in training. Craig Gardner is in line to deputise.
On-loan Liverpool goalkeeper Scott Carson is ineligible and Stuart Taylor will make only his third league appearance of the season. Defender Olof Mellberg is available.
Daniel Agger is Liverpool's only certain absentee (metatarsal). Steve Finnan and Javier Mascherano may return after missing the midweek FA Cup tie and Martin Skrtel could get a first call-up.
Latest in Sport
Radamel Falcao: 'Changes are not easy, but there are times when you have to'
Paul Scholes: I'm sticking my neck out - Hull to win and Newcastle to be relegated on final day
David Luiz says 'I'm not a virgin': Former Chelsea defender denies he is celibate
Premier League 2015/16 kits: Confirmed and rumoured strips from Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea and others
Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
- 3 The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
- 4 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 5 Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland