O'Neill plans more signings

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Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has admitted he needs to bring in further players after being "a wee bit surprised" at statistics relating to the workload of his squad last season.

O'Neill recently attended a meeting of Premier League managers and discovered he used less players in the competition last season than any other club.

"It is a team game," said O'Neill. "We are trying to get some extra players in if we can and in our own way, we're hoping to look after the players."

The reliance on the same players clearly took its toll in the final third of the season when Villa looked jaded and saw the chance of securing Champions League football disappear. O'Neill is aware of the need to rectify the position before the transfer window closes in just under a fortnight as Villa prepare for Thursday's Europa League first leg qualifier away to Rapid Vienna.

The former Celtic manager added: "It's going to be a long season ahead. At the end of last week, I went to a meeting for managers and they put up some interesting statistics.

"They showed that 17 of our lads had played in the Barclays Premier League last season. Other teams had used 23, 27 and others over 30. I was a wee bit surprised. I knew how many we had used but I didn't realise it was less than anyone else.

"There's a long way to go. But, from the performance against Wigan, however, we've got a lot to do."

Skipper Stiliyan Petrov wants Villa to put their dismal performance against Wigan behind them by qualifying for the group stages of the Europa League. Villa were booed off the pitch after Saturday's 2-0 home reversal against the Latics in their opening Barclays Premier League encounter.

"Everybody wants to be in Europe and we hope that after the next couple of games we will be in the group stages," Petrov said. "I think after the weekend disappointment we want the next game with Rapid Vienna to come very quick so that we can show everybody it was a one off against Wigan.

"I know they have a young team and they will be tough opposition. But it is about how we are going to play. We will worry about how we are going to play and we hope we can put in a much better performance that we did against Wigan."

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European News
Stiliyan Petrov
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa

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