O'Neill defends Villa stalemate

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Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill insisted his side had not been guilty of "choking" as they missed out on the chance to move into third spot in the Barclays Premier League.

Villa were held at home to a goalless draw by Fulham - a stark contrast to their previous two games which earned them four points against Arsenal and Manchester United.

The former Celtic boss said: "I think from the outside it is easy to throw at us that we have choked but I don't believe that. We went into the game full of confidence and with our hopes high after the previous two games. It is tough."

He added: "Fulham were cock-a-hoop after their draw at Liverpool, played the same system, and it was tough for us to break them down.

"But as regards choking, I do not accept that. Every game is hard and we are not brilliant enough at the moment to steamroll teams but we are doing fine."

O'Neill admitted: "The result is disappointing for us. We had three opportunities in the game and it would have been great to take one of them.

"But we should have carved out more although there was no lack of effort in the team. It was an opportunity for us and we did not grasp it.

"We have to remember that we have good players who are in their early 20s. It is all about learning but I do think this team can grow into something."

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Premier League
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