Aston Villa manager sacks off the UEFA Cup: So much for a European adventure!

The Villans spent a good part of last summer qualifying for the UEFA Cup, although it now appears that they are ready to get shot of this inconvenient competition from their portfolio. Martin O’Neill has left all his best players at home for Thursday’s match against CSKA Moscow, including the below.

It will be a shame for the Aston Villa supporters who are travelling to Russia, as it appears that they will be without no less than eight regular first-team players for the second leg match. Considering they drew the first leg 1-1 with a fairly strong team, they stand little to no chance of making it through against a dangerous CSKA team. The Guardian reports that the following players ‘ain’t gettin on no plane’.

Stand-in captain Gareth Barry, Brad Friedel, Emile Heskey, Ashley Young, Gabriel Agbonlahor, James Milner, Carlos Cuellar and Stiliyan Petrov are all excluded from the 19-man party announced today.

Luke Young, Curtis Davies, Zat Knight and John Carew are among the few experienced players in the squad.

Young players such as Elliott Parish, Eric Lichaj, Ciaran Clark, Shane Lowry, Barry Bannan and Mark Albrighton are included.

Is this a sensible decision by O’Neill, or are Aston Villa supporters a bit gutted that all the hard work spent getting the team into the competition proper and through the group stages is now all for nothing. It will take an inspired performance by the reserves to make it through. Should the focus be on staying in the top four of the Premier League?

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