O'Neill hails Carew

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Football News

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill admitted he had no hesitation in fining John Carew and joked his punishment should have been more severe after he helped to inspire a 4-0 demolition of Wigan.

The Norway international was fined by O'Neill for being out on the town in the early hours of Thursday and was left out of Villa's UEFA Cup match with Ajax. Redemption was emphatic however, as Carew came off the bench to set up a goal for Gabriel Agbonlahor and then score himself at the JJB.

O'Neill said: "It was a large oversight on John's part, so consequently he's been fined. Most of the players in the dressing room are saying it should be doubled! John assures me it won't happen again so I will believe him."

Carew claimed there were "mitigating circumstances" for being out so late in the bars of Birmingham, but O'Neill was having none of it and hit the former Valencia forward in the pocket.

It made for a stunning impact as Villa destroyed a Wigan side managed by former Birmingham boss Steve Bruce and containing three ex-Blues players.

"He's been fined pretty heavily as it wasn't the brightest thing to do. I think he thought that he wouldn't be playing (against Ajax) but he hadn't been told beforehand so he shouldn't have been out. It's been dealt with and he assures me it won't happen again."

Wigan boss Bruce pointed an accusing finger at his defenders and Titus Bramble in particular.

The former Ipswich and Newcastle centre-back continues to make costly mistakes and Bruce admitted there was no justification for his lunging tackle on Agbonlahor which gave Villa their opener.

"For me it was a penalty," said Bruce, himself a former centre-back. "There are no excuses because Titus should stay on his feet. Again, it was a glaring error of judgment by him.

"We are all told that you never go to ground when you don't have to in the penalty area, so I've got no complaints."

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Titus Bramble
Ipswich Town
Gabriel Agbonlahor
John Carew
Steve Bruce
Wigan Athletic
Aston Villa

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