O'Neill relieved to reach last eight

25 February 2010 08:18

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill praised the commitment of his players as they put any thoughts of the Carling Cup final to one side to overcome Crystal Palace and move into the last eight of the FA Cup.

Villa will be bidding to win their first trophy for 14 years when they do battle with Manchester United at Wembley on Sunday. But there was no holding back by the players on duty against Neil Warnock's side as two late John Carew penalties secured a 3-1 success in the fifth-round replay - and an away clash with Reading.

O'Neill, who fielded close to a full strength line-up, said: "I'm naturally delighted for the club but more genuinely pleased for the players. All the players were prepared to go for it and I didn't see one shirking anything at all in preparation for Sunday. That speaks volumes for the team."

He added: "I am really pleased with the team. It is showing some fantastic ability and they are improving which is great. They have great commitment.

"We have lots of things to improve on - but the commitment is there in abundance.

"We went very strongly, only made a couple of changes and, I think the way Palace played in the second half, showed we had to do that.

"But we deserved to win the game although we left it very late.

"We spurned a lot of chances and it was one of those occasions where you definitely needed the second goal.

"I thought it might be one of those evenings when Palace equalised but we turned it around and deservedly went through."

Source: PA