Aston Villa boss O'Neill only thinking of Premiership safety

Martin O'Neill admits Premiership safety remains Aston Villa's top priority, despite their high-flying status.

Martin O'Neill admits Premiership safety remains Aston Villa's top priority, despite their high-flying status.

“The top four is exceptionally difficult. If it was easy then everyone would be doing it,’’ O’Neill told the Birmingham Mail. “The league table at the moment is still very, very tight. You couldn’t get carried away. It is impossible. It (the Premier League) is too grand.

“Even if you wanted to get carried away, you couldn’t.

“You are brought down to earth by it all. That does not stop me from appreciating how wonderfully the team played, how vibrant they were and how inventive they were. But the season is long.”

O’Neill is adamant that even the big clubs have to set their stall out simply to remain in the Premier League, and until Villa get their minimum requirement of 40 points he will not be putting his feet up.

“That’s the case even for the major clubs,’’ he said.

“I remember years ago the old ‘boot room’ at Liverpool where Ronnie Moran and people like that would say they would set out each season with the No.1 target of making sure they were in the division for the next year.

“If you start taking your eye off the ball, if you start making really silly forecasts, silly predictions on the strength of any particular game, it is tantamount to disaster.

“That is not being cagey, it just is.

“You take your eye off this Premier League and you are going along nicely in games, then the next thing you know you lose a game... then draw or lose the next one, as we did (against Newcastle and Middlesbrough), then you are starting to think that getting the next point is hard.”

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