O'Neill stands by team decisions

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Martin O'Neill has defended his selection policy in cup competitions after claiming Aston Villa may not have a better chance in the next 25 years to qualify for the Champions League.

Villa fans have continued to voice their disapproval at O'Neill fielding a virtual reserve team in the UEFA Cup clash in CSKA Moscow in an effort to keep his key players fresh for a tilt at a top-four finish in the Barclays Premier League. On Sunday fans directed verbal abuse at striker Gabriel Agbonlahor after O'Neill had appealed before the game for them to back the team.

But O'Neill believes he has been acting in the best interests of Villa despite a seven-game run without a victory which has seen them overtaken by the Gunners. O'Neill said: "I'm responsible for the football club so eventually all the decisions that are made will be mine."

He continued: "It's my responsibility to put a side out to try and win some football games and, of course, I obviously accept all the criticism that's coming round.

"Some of it is a bit over the top but it is less of an issue than you think.

"You do what you consider is the right thing. You take these decisions. Other sides who have played lesser teams in the League Cup and have gone out have taken less abuse.

"We went as strongly as we could to try and get a lead in the first leg against CSKA Moscow at Villa Park.

"But Aston Villa might not be, for the next 25 years, in with the same chance of qualifying for the Champions League. You never know.

"I'm not really concerned about it (the abuse). Take the stick, take the punishment. That's my job. I cannot be responsible for what other people write or talk about.

"My time here will be dictated by results and the sort of progress we are hoping to make.

Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.

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Europa League
European News
Gabriel Agbonlahor
League Cup
Premier League
UEFA Champions League
Aston Villa

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