Aston Villa are bubbling to play in Europe next season and are not only counting on their English Premiership position at the end of the season to guarantee them a UEFA Cup berth. It is reported that the Midlands club have applied to enter next season’s Intertoto Cup. This would imply that just one win in the Cup would ensure them a spot in the second qualifying round in the UEFA Cup.
Does this mean that manager Martin O’Neill is not confident of finishing in the top six? Ask him and he says:
It’s just covering bases, but we’ve got a chance to qualify automatically for Europe and we’re going to try and charge on if we can.
We’ve got ourselves into a position where we’ve got a 12-game season and we’ll be going into it all guns blazing. The boys have been magnificent during the first two thirds of the season.
We are making good progress and I couldn’t ask any more from the players. They have given me everything.
We had a superb finish to last season, being unbeaten in the last nine games, and it would be nice if something similar happened again.
Entering the Intertoto is in no way a signal that we’ve given up hope of qualifying for Europe automatically. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I believe O’Neill and also believe that Villa and their owner Randy Lerner are out to cement a solid future.