Barry: Hard work starts now

16 January 2009 11:41
Aston Villa midfielder Gareth Barry has warned his team-mates that the hard work will start now in terms of securing Champions League qualification. Martin O'Neill's side are currently fourth in the Premier League table after edging ahead of Arsenal in the race for qualification to Europe's blue ribbon club competition. Villa are also still challenging for FA Cup and UEFA Cup glory and Barry has urged his colleagues to remain focused during the second half of what promises to be an interesting season. "Our form this season and our position in the league doesn't surprise me at all because we have some real quality players here," the England international told the club's official website. "I'm not surprised by how we've done so far - but now comes the real test! Getting up there is one thing but staying up there is something else. "The pressure will be really intense from now until the end of the season. This is the business end, where things can be achieved. "Staying up when the pressure is really on will require a lot of hard work. This will be our toughest test yet! "But this is what we play for. You don't want games that are important at the start of the season and then meaningless ones at the end. You want something to play for. "We're riding high in the Barclays Premier League and we're still in two cup competitions. Confidence is high and we're in there competing. Hopefully in March and April, we'll still be talking the same way. It will be a great test of character for the lads."

Source: ESA