O'Neill bullish ahead of Chelsea clash

09 April 2010 02:18

Martin O'Neill insists Aston Villa will not be going to Wembley "to make up the numbers" when they face Chelsea in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final.

O'Neill recognises Villa are regarded as underdogs after crashing 7-1 to Chelsea at Stamford Bridge in a Barclays Premier League encounter only a fortnight ago. He admits to initially feeling "despondent" in the aftermath of that mauling - Villa's first league reversal of 2010.

But O'Neill is driven on by the prospect of Villa reaching a second major final of the campaign as much as he is in wanting revenge over Carlo Ancelotti's side. O'Neill said: "There is no question that for a few days we were all pretty despondent after the Chelsea defeat."

He added: "Chelsea are a fantastic side and played particularly well against us a fortnight ago.

"They must have derived a great deal of confidence from beating us so convincingly and, from our viewpoint, so disappointingly because we caved in during the last half hour.

"The 7-1 got to me at the time. It was a poor defeat because I've never been beaten by seven goals before and it was hard to take.

"But I've had bigger disappointments and, when I put it into perspective, it was just a rank bad day at the office.

"I thought the performance and result at Bolton last weekend showed we had got over it. It was the manner in which we toughed it out at Bolton which was the most satisfying of all."

O'Neill added: "Overall I've been delighted with the players. We were disappointed at Chelsea but there haven't been too many disappointments this season.

"The opening day of the season defeat against Wigan was, from my viewpoint, when I look back now, more disappointing than the loss at Stamford Bridge. Overall, I've been thrilled with the efforts of the team and the players' defensive record this season has showed they are capable of withstanding pressure and they have been excellent for us."

Source: PA

World Cup Group G

Belgium 1 0 0 3 3
England 1 0 0 1 3
Tunisa 0 0 1 -1 0
Panama 0 0 1 -3 0
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