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O'Neill sets sights on Euro place
Published : 21 Apr 2010 09:05:00
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has vowed to fight fire with fire in tonight's high-stakes Premier League showdown at Hull City. Villa need a win to stay on course for a place in Europe while Hull are battling to avoid relegation and the financial headache that would come with losing their top-flight status. With that in mind, O'Neill expects Hull to come out with all guns blazing but he is equally convinced his side have the ammunition in their armoury to get the win they need. O'Neill, who has set his side the target of winning their final four games of the season to secure European qualification, said: "Hull had a fine draw at Birmingham City last weekend but they will feel they have to win their home games. "We will have to go there with the same attitude. We have to win. "If the game really becomes open, which I expect it to be, I will just take my chance with it and hope we have got the wherewithal to score a goal or two. "But it won't be easy and Hull will probably be coming out firing like never before. "But our away record is fantastic and I think that only Chelsea and Manchester United have won more away games than us. "So we go away from home without any fear and we have done that for the last couple of seasons. "We have not lacked anything away from home. We have been able to win an awful lot of games because we go with a very positive attitude and that is exactly what we will take into this game." A win would move Villa into sixth place in the table - their finishing position in each of the last two seasons. But if they finish lower this season, O'Neill still feels they will have made progress this term. He added: "The only thing can you can do is try and improve the side year in year out. This season we are not even guaranteed finishing eighth. Everton are breathing down our necks and yet we have had a fantastic time. "Now if we don't finish sixth this year does that mean we are a worse side than last year? The answer is absolutely not. "We are a miles better team than last year because we have been able to keep it going, we have contested a League Cup final and we played in the semi-final of the FA Cup. "The whole season has been really splendid. We have lost six league games this season and we have been battling on all three fronts all year. "That is great, great credit to the players and I think they have been fantastic. I think the side is much better than it was last year." O'Neill also thinks that the progress Villa have made this season will make them more attractive to potential new signings this summer. "I think that we are a much more attractive proposition to top quality players than we would have been a couple of seasons ago," revealed O'Neill. "There is no question that would be the case. But like everything else it is acquiring those players. It is a difficult one to add real quality players because they cost an awful lot of money." Being able to offer European football would also be an added attraction to new signings. Villa's matchwinner at Portsmouth on Sunday, teenage striker Nathan Delfouneso, has European qualification in sight - but knows it might mean having to win all their remaining games to achieve the target. Delfouneso, who was on target for the first time in the Premier League, said: "Winning at Portsmouth was the start of trying to win all our remaining games in an attempt to get into Europe. "It has been a good season for us and we are very close. We want to keep pushing as much as possible right until the end of the season. "Hull need the points and we need the points.But we are not bothered about Hull. We have to concentrate upon ourselves. "It has been a great season for Villa. The boys have done magnificently and they deserve a lot of credit for what they've done. "Hopefully, we can finish the season on a very high note and get a place in Europe."