O'Neill: Villa hit by expectations

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Football News

Martin O'Neill admits Aston Villa's ability to over achieve for the majority of the season has left a feeling of disappointment amongst fans - even though they are almost certain to qualify for the Europa League.

Villa were in contention for a Champions League spot until a run of nine games without a win handed the initiative back to Arsenal in the battle to finish fourth in the Barclays Premier League.

O'Neill said: "I think almost having qualified again for Europe has been overlooked. Because we flirted with the top four for a couple of weeks, people have had a bit of false expectation."

He added: "You realise the calibre of team we are up against when you see them contesting the quarter-finals and semi-finals of the Champions League each year - and you see the calibre of player those top four clubs possess.

"It is not just the individual player, because we have a number here that would grace any team, but it is the size of the squad. But we are going to qualify for Europe this season again and, in terms of development, I think the players have done brilliantly.

"I think if you had asked the Villa fans at the start of the season, that if we could finish fifth and qualify for Europe, they would have accepted that.

"But the fact is, because we have been hovering around the top four for a while, maybe there is a bit of disappointment."

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