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2009 02 24 Retrieve
[Martin O’Neill Refutes CSKA Moscow Boss Zico’s Aston Villa Allegation] Funnily enough, Ashley Young didn’t play against Wigan recently and someone said then that all we did was get it out wide for James Milner to lob in a couple of hopeful balls.
I knew the way CSKA were going to play. But I wouldn’t be running around telling them whether how they play is good, bad or indifferent. When I was at Nottingham Forest, we won the league championship and two European Cups - which I don’t think CSKA Moscow have won - by getting the ball out wide to a world-class winger [John Robertson]. He beat a couple of players, whipped it in and then Gary Birtles or Tony Woodcock headed it into the net. I am sure Zico would also have played in a side that can also get the ball out wide and beat players. I thought it was part of the game.
I don’t know whether what Zico said was a criticism. The fact they were unable to stop a world-class player like Young from doing what is allowed on the pitch might tell me something. I don’t accept Zico’s point because one of the outstanding players the other night was a central midfielder for us called Stiliyan Petrov. He got the ball down and played through them, took it off them and ran past them. He did all of those things. It is a cop-out. I don’t accept what he has said. If getting it wide and someone beating three or four players exhilarates the crowd, I don’t see a great deal wrong with it.
[O’Neill also countered the criticism that the Villans’ style of play is predictable] We are not one-dimensional. Far from it - and I wouldn’t go and tell Moscow how to play
2015 12 19 Retrieve
[Republic of Ireland manager Martin O’Neill after discovering his side will come up against Sweden, Belgium and Italy at UEFA EURO 2016] I thought I was looking forward to the draw an hour and a half ago but maybe I’m not so sure now
2017 05 30 Retrieve
[Martin O’Neill says that he is still weighing up the final make-up of his squad for Sunday’s game against Uruguay and the World Cup qualifier against Austria] Obviously Wilson, great as a person, but he hasn’t played that much. That’s the point.
We do have some boys who have played more games at this minute and that might become very important in the middle of June when you haven’t played in a long time. Darron . . . the same. I wouldn’t dismiss people from my thoughts but it’s just the number of minutes
[Arter – who might have missed his club’s closing game of the season with any one of three different injuries he was carrying – needed to rest] I think he was getting over some things
2019 12 20 Retrieve
[Quote on Zlatan] [Zlatan] is a top class player. One of the best in Europe, if not the world
2020 03 30 Retrieve
[Martin O’Neill criticised reported £10m Celtic target in 2018] Jeff Hendrick has not reached the heights that he did with us a couple of seasons ago. Jeff can and should do better for us in the middle of the field - which I feel is his proper position. He plays in the hole for Burnley, but when you play in that hole, at times you’ve got to be able to create, you’ve got to be able to score a few goals. There’s more to offer from Jeff
2020 05 21 Retrieve
[Martin O’Neill insists Celtic earned their ninth successive title in Scotland] They need to be congratulated, it’s been a great season for them. They’ve deserved to win it, absolutely no question about that. Had the season been extended for a couple of weeks, they would have taken the points and got there. There’s no way that Rangers could have caught them. From that viewpoint [it was] deserved. I can understand Rangers wanting to put an asterisk besides things. I’m sure if the shoe was on the other foot, that might be the same case. Obviously to prevent them from winning nine in a row, for a start. But there should be no asterisk attached to that at all, absolutely not. Celtic won it on the field and had the games been completed they would have surely gone on to do it. They deserve the credit for that
I don’t think any asterisk can be attached to Celtic. If they were two or three points clear, I could have understood that but they were so far in front that Rangers couldn’t have caught them
My own personal viewpoint is that I don’t think [the league should have been ended]. I know there’s lots of things that you have to take into consideration. There’s lack of money around. For instance, when would you start the season again? When it would it all start up? Therefore you would have to play X number of games before the new season kicks in. If that’s the only way they’re going to do it – by ending the season – then fine, but it’s far from satisfactory
2020 05 22 Retrieve
[Former Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill says Jack Grealish possesses the natural talent to play for Manchester United or any big club] Are you saying, ‘Does he have the ability to play for Manchester United?’ Certainly, the natural talent to play for any of the big clubs – there’s no question about that. I just don’t know enough and I’m in no position to make that judgement
My own view was that they had a super end to the Championship season, they were the best team in it by a long distance, I felt. I honestly thought that they wouldn’t have too much difficulty in staying up. They’ve put some money in, a lot of money in, some people say between 130 and 150 million pounds. So, I didn’t expect them to struggle at all this season. I expected it to be difficult, but not to struggle. I met Jack Grealish a number of years ago when we wanted him to play for the Republic of Ireland and he chose to play with England, no problem with that whatsoever – his father is English and he had played underage football for the Republic of Ireland, he made that decision and that’s absolutely fine. He’s very strong; he’s much stronger than he was five years ago, a quality player, hard to rob. You would hope that, at the end, Villa would have enough to pull themselves around and see it through. Of course, if you’re depending on one player, which they have been over the past couple of months, that can cause a problem
2020 05 26 Retrieve
[Martin O’Neill has praised Leicester City’s progress under Brendan Rodgers] Do I think that Leicester can make the Champions League? Oh, very much so. They are in a terrific position. They have played very, very well, they have played a nice brand of football as well. So, good credit to the manager, Brendan, he’s done very well there. Their season when they won the league was absolutely and utterly incredible. I suppose it takes the shine away from our particular years there, finishing in the top 10 for about four consecutive seasons and winning a couple of EFL Cups. But overall, Leicester City are a very fine footballing team. They are competing. They are competing financially in the market as well. They are pretty astute, they got a lot of money from Manchester United for the centre-back [Harry Maguire] and then used it accordingly. Of course, winning the league a couple of seasons ago has escalated into some sort of stardom anyway, if not super-stardom. They are a team to be reckoned with, no question about that
2020 06 23 Retrieve
[Martin O’Neill says Any manager would take 11 James Milners in their side] Perhaps I took it too personally when he wanted to leave because we were getting a lot of money for him from Manchester City. At the end of the day he was consistently excellent for us. We were doubling our money but he was irreplaceable for me. James was going there to further his career and certainly further his future financially. But to me, we were trying to compete with the likes of City and Tottenham at that particular point in time. Maybe another season and we might have done it. It was disappointing. But I’ve got to say, I could not be more pleased for him for getting the career and the medals he so thoroughly deserves
James just covered so much ground. He is like the identikit pro. He doesn’t drink. He puts everything into his training and his game. He’s put football at the top of his list of priorities so it’s certainly no coincidence he’s still going strong. Klopp’s played him in virtually every position at Liverpool. You’d take 11 James Milners in your side if that were possible. I tried to get him first and on deadline day he was less than three miles from Villa’s training ground and he was told to go back. He would have been very cheap then – about £4m, if I recall. I chased him again and kept going and when things weren’t working out for him at Newcastle we paid £12m for him. Not bad business
2020 07 15 Retrieve
[O’Neill fears Villa are running out of games] With that victory the other day if they had maybe another six or seven games left then I think that could be a massive turning point, a big victory. Any victory is big and the three points but it’s just the number of games left that makes it fraught with difficulty. Villa know what they have to do to get out, they have to win their matches, they really have to win their games. They were on the front foot against Crystal Palace, they avoided the possibility of a goal against them early on, they had a bit of luck with VAR. They came through that game and won the match. That first victory is very, very important and they have definitely given themselves a chance. It’s just the running out of games is something that is naturally a problem