O'Neill plans more signings
Martin O'Neill has admitted he needs to make further signings after being "a wee bit surprised" at statistics relating to the workload of his Aston Villa squad last season. The Northern Irishman recently attended a meeting of Premier League managers, and discovered he used less players in the competition last term than any other club.
The reliance on the same players clearly took its toll in the final third of the campaign, when Villa looked jaded and saw the chance of securing UEFA Champions League football disappear. O'Neill is aware of the need to rectify the position before the transfer window closes in just under a fortnight, as Villa prepare for Thursday's UEFA Europa League qualifier away to Rapid Vienna.
"It's going to be a long season ahead," said the former Celtic manager."At the end of last week, I went to a meeting for managers and they put up some interesting statistics. They showed that 17 of our lads had played in the Barclays Premier League last season.
"Other teams had used 23, 27 and others over 30. I was a wee bit surprised. I knew how many we had used but I didn't realise it was less than anyone else.
"It is a team game. We are trying to get some extra players in if we can and in our own way, we're hoping to look after the players. There's a long way to go. But, from the performance against Wigan, however, we've got a lot to do."
Captain Stiliyan Petrov wants Villa to put their dismal performance against Wigan Athletic behind them by qualifying for the group stages of the Europa League. The Villans were booed off the pitch after Saturday's 2-0 home defeat by the Latics in their opening Premier League encounter.
"Everybody wants to be in Europe and we hope that after the next couple of games we will be in the group stages," said Petrov. "I think after the weekend disappointment, we want the next game with Rapid Vienna to come very quick so that we can show everybody it was a one-off against Wigan.
"I know they have a young team and they will be tough opposition. But it is about how we are going to play. We will worry about how we are going to play and we hope we can put in a much better performance that we did against Wigan."