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O'Neill challenges Villa to emulate success of the 80's

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has challenged his players to start emulating the success of the 1980s side which won the league title and European Cup in successive seasons. O'Neill said: "Winning a trophy is the ultimate. There is no getting away from that and it would be fantastic.

"We have a lot of pictures of the old teams around the training ground and why not? It is something to aspire to.

"I have often said to keep the pictures up on the walls of the 1981 league-winning side and 1982 European Cup-winning side. The early 1980s was a fantastic spell for Villa.

"The history of the club is there to see, a great tradition, so we'd like to try and do something about it. That is really what the team is there for."

O'Neill believes lifting silverware for the first time for the current crop of players will have major significance in their development.

He said: "Winning the first trophy is the most difficult. I remember way back, when I was a player at Nottingham Forest, we won the Anglo-Scottish Cup.

"We played Ayr and Kilmarnock in the early rounds and Leyton Orient in the final and we won it and the manager, Brian Clough, was in raptures about it because it was the first trophy we had won.

"He felt himself it was the start of something. The trophies the team won in the next couple of years, the league title and the European Cups, were founded on winning that trophy. That was very important.

"In the big scheme of things no-one would pay any attention to it - but it was important to win that first trophy."

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