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MacDonald stays focused on next game
Published : 27 Aug 2010 06:54:00Rss feed
Kevin MacDonald admitted Aston Villa's Europa League exit "may have an influence" on whether he lands the manager's post on a permanent basis. But MacDonald insists his immediate priority is to try to lift the players for Sunday's clash with Everton after seeing them lose 4-3 on aggregate to Rapid Vienna. MacDonald expects "nothing to change" regarding his own position until after the meeting with David Moyes' side. Villa twice led through Gabriel Agbonlahor and Emile Heskey and also saw a Stiliyan Petrov penalty saved as the Austrians made it through with three second-half goals from Atdhe Nuhiu, Mario Sonnleitner and Rene Gartler. When asked if losing was a major blow to his hopes of securing the post, MacDonald said: "It may have an influence. But I must stress it is the media who have put me up as first choice. "I have never been told I was first choice and expect nothing to change until after the game on Sunday. "It is a big blow for Aston Villa to go out of Europe again. A lot of the lads were disappointed to go out last season. "It is a major blow for them. They are professional footballers and proud of what they do. "My own position is not uppermost in my thoughts 10 minutes after a game. It is not about me but how the players and the football club react on Sunday." MacDonald admitted Villa paid the penalty for silly mistakes as Rapid repeated last season's success in knocking out Villa at the same hurdle. He said: "I am very disappointed. We were in total control at 1-0 and gave away a silly equaliser. "We also missed a penalty and gave away a silly third goal. We made three silly mistakes and we are out of the tournament. "You can't legislate for individual mistakes from international players. "But as a group we score goals and we will accept responsibility for mistakes as a group as well." Vienna coach Peter Pacult described the victory as one of the best of his career. He said: "It feels great to beat Villa for the second year running. It is the most emotional success I have had as a manager. "I was actually disappointed with the draw because it meant we had to beat a Premier League side again. "But we produced a top-class performance, an international performance, and I am delighted with the results."