Football

O'Neill: No need for Ag-ro

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Martin O'Neill will meet with Aston Villa striker Gabriel Agbonlahor on Monday after attacking fans for their reaction towards the England player when he was substituted during Sunday's home defeat to Tottenham.

O'Neill had appealed before the game for supporters to be united in backing Villa's bid for a first Champions League spot. But Agbonlahor was booed when he was taken off during the closing stages of Villa's 2-1 defeat which means they have slipped out of the Premier League's top four.

O'Neill said: "We will have a chat about everything on Monday. It is not the best time to talk to anyone after you have been beaten but I am quite sure Gabby will be disappointed."

He added: "He is a local lad who has come through the ranks. He might give the impression from a distance that he has a bit of a swagger, that he doesn't care, but that is so far from the truth.

"He was lacking in confidence towards the end of the game but that was the only reason I took him off and the reaction of the fans was more than disappointing."

Agbonlahor has netted 11 goals this season but only two since mid-December. But O'Neill insisted: "Gabby has been fantastic for this football club. Ever since I have known him, two and a half years ago, he has been brilliant.

"I have got to tell you that is no way to treat him after what he has done here. I can put up with many other things but that was uncalled for and people have short memories.

"I've always said if you pay your money you can do what you want but that sort of thing doesn't help anybody."

O'Neill is confident Villa can respond after a run of seven games without a win even though their next two games are away to resurgent Liverpool and Manchester United. But Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp believes north London rivals Arsenal are favourites to oust Villa for a top-four place by the end of the season.

He said: "I've said all along that I fancy Arsenal. They have got players coming back like Walcott and Fabregas. They have got the squad, a bigger squad than Martin (O'Neill). They are at another level in my opinion."

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Topics:
Tottenham Hotspur
Arsenal
European News
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Football
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Manchester United
Aston Villa
Liverpool

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