O'Neill wants a second successive final appearance

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Martin O'Neill has revealed the determination of the Aston Villa players to reach a second final of the campaign - and set the record straight after the mauling by Chelsea a fortnight ago.

Villa will lock horns with Carlo Ancelotti's side in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final at Wembley as they look to avenge a 7-1 defeat in the Barclays Premier League at Stamford Bridge. But of equal importance to O'Neill is to emulate Villa's Carling Cup final appearance earlier in the season.

He said: "The appetite for this game is even stronger having been to Wembley once this season. It is a great incentive for us."

He added: "I am delighted to be going back again even though I don't necessarily agree with semi-finals being played at Wembley.

"We lost the Carling Cup final and you could see by the second-half performance in the FA Cup quarter-final at Reading that there was a renewed determination to get back there again.

"Of course, we face Chelsea. That won't be easy, particularly after what happened a fortnight ago, but the players are ready to go.

"We certainly regained some lost confidence by winning at Bolton last weekend - and not conceding a goal helped us too. We know how difficult the task is ahead but we are ready for it."

O'Neill was among those critical of the Wembley pitch when Villa lost 2-1 in the Carling Cup final to Manchester United.

He said: "It came in for a lot of criticism, and deservedly so, because it was a showpiece final and you would expect a bit better.

"But, as the players have remarked, we have played on worse surfaces this season and it has been a particularly difficult season with it being a long winter and that has affected pitches."

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