Reo-Coker leaps to O'Neill defence

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Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker has labelled as "ridiculous" claims manager Martin O'Neill is under pressure.

Reo-Coker starred in Villa's 3-1 win over Liverpool on Tuesday night, winning the penalty which was converted by Ashley Young for the visitors' third goal as O'Neill's side put a poor start to the season behind them at Anfield.

"I have seen some of the comments and the quotes that have come out about us and the manager being under pressure," said Reo-Coker. "It was two games into the season. It is ridiculous to come out with such statements."

The victory was Villa's first this season after defeats in their opening two matches against Wigan and Rapid Vienna, the latter coming in the Europa League.

Another setback at Anfield would have increased the scrutiny on O'Neill but Reo-Coker believes questioning the former Celtic boss this early in the season is unfair.

"I am not going to stand here and lie, what is being said is ridiculous," he added. "Speaking from my experiences and what I have been through it really does not bother me.

"It is not a sprint, it's a marathon. We have got a long way to go and it is way too early to start panicking. People have to stay in touch with reality, it is as simple as that."

Villa were booed off after the opening-day loss to Wigan but O'Neill believes his players answered their critics on Monday night.

"We have won at Anfield and the players were simply brilliant," he said. "We finished sixth (last season), and we qualified for Europe. Then we were booed off by our fans after the Wigan game. Okay, that's fine because we were beaten in the match.

"But we were also booed off at half-time, just 45 minutes since we finished sixth. Maybe people should look at that because I was disconcerted myself with it."

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Nigel Reo-Coker
Premier League
Ashley Young
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa

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