O'Neill buoyed by 'terrific' crowd

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Football News

Martin O'Neill praised the Aston Villa fans who two weeks ago had booed their side off the pitch as they overcame Fulham to register their first home Barclays Premier League win of the campaign.

O'Neill had been upset at the reception the Villa players had received after the reversal by visiting Wigan on the opening day of the season after finishing sixth last season. He claimed Villa were apprehensive before the game but an early own goal from John Pantsil and a superb strike from Gabriel Agbonlahor killed off the Cottagers.

"I'm very pleased indeed. We were actually a bit apprehensive about the game. I know we won midweek (against Rapid Vienna) but it was just playing at home again in the league," said O'Neill.

"When I mention the word 'apprehensive' it is probably too strong because the players still enjoy playing at home.

"I don't think they were best pleased themselves about the Wigan affair. But the crowd were terrific and we settled down, got the goal early which was a big tonic for us and we won pretty well in the end.

"It's nice to get a home win and we've six points on the board from three games. It takes us nicely into the international break."

Fulham manager Roy Hodgson declined to blame his side's midweek trip to Russia for a Europa League qualifier for his side's poor performance.

He said: "The ridiculous goal we gave away after three minutes did not help matters against a very determined and aggressive Villa team.

"But it was a poor performance from us. We played a bit more like what I would expect in the second half but when the second goal goes in, that leaves you with a mountain to climb.

"We can't choose the excuse of tiredness from playing in Russia on Thursday. We have to find the energy and do better in games. We have to work hard in training to sort that out and to defend better as a unit."

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John Pantsil
Gabriel Agbonlahor
Premier League
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa

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