Warnock salutes Villa key men

21 January 2010 03:55
Warnock believes that quality - harnessed to experience - is a vital ingredient possessed by the likes of Emile Heskey and Richard Dunne which will rub off on the younger elements in Martin O'Neill's side.

Villa are through to a Carling Cup final meeting against either Manchester City or Manchester United on February 28 after a dramatic 6-4 win over Blackburn on Wednesday night and a 7-4 aggregate success.

And Warnock has his sights on a double Wembley date this season, as Villa will be through to the last 16 of the FA Cup if they overcome Brighton in Saturday's fourth-round home tie.

Villa's last triumph was in the 1996 League Cup and was followed by years of under-achievement, except for a brief spell under John Gregory, until O'Neill began rebuilding the squad when taking charge in the summer of 2006.

Now the good times are back with Villa also challenging for a Champions League spot.

Warnock said: "We have got big players at our club who are ambitious and want to play in finals every year and that's what we are trying to do.

"They say with the likes of United and Chelsea, it's learning how to win and getting that into your system, knowing how to win and doing that, and trying to repeat it.

"We've got players in the team who know how to do that. They've got experience now, the likes of Richard Dunne and James Collins, Emile Heskey.

"They are the sort of players you need around the squad to bring the younger lads through it.

"Playing in a final will mean everything to the young lads in terms of their development and hopefully it will give them the ambition to go on to achieve so much more in their careers.

"We will take anyone in the final. It's a one-off game and we will go there with the ambition to win it."

Villa will seal a European spot should they win the final but Warnock is adamant the quest for a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League remains a massive priority.

He said: "People ask if winning the Carling Cup will take the pressure off but we are still aiming for the top four.

"We want Champions League football. I don't think it takes any pressure off. It just inspires us to be more ambitious."

Warnock admitted: "It will be brilliant if we can get to Wembley twice this season and that's what the lads want as well. I am sure the manager wants that as well.

"It is about bringing trophies back to the club. That's what the manager aspires to do and that is what the players want to do."

Midfielder James Milner watched Villa's last cup success at Wembley in 1996 but was a disappointed spectator as he was supporting Leeds who were beaten 3-0 by Brian Little's side.

He said: "I was disappointed the last time Villa won this competition but, if we can win it this time. I'll be happy about it!

"I was only 10 at the time and I went down with my dad and sister.

"I can't remember too much but I remember being disappointed as I was supporting Leeds. I think Savo Milosevic scored a good goal.

"It was a good occasion and hopefully it will be a good occasion for Villa next month and we can take the trophy."

Milner added: "We know we are going to come up against a quality team whoever it is and, although it is a great day out for the fans and the club, we are going there for just one thing, to win, not just to enjoy our day out.

"We know we can beat anyone on our day so it is down to us to go down there and put on our best performance.

"It will be my first final and the same for a few of the boys. We've got there and it is down to us to win it - but there is a lot of football to be played before that as well.

"We've got a big game in the FA Cup and there are plenty of league games and it is down to us to keep this form going."

Carling Cup. Click here to bet.  

Source: Team_Talk