Villa boss O'Neill satisfied with UEFA Cup progress

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill was happy to take their 1-1 draw with Litex Lovech and UEFA Cup progress last night. Villa guaranteed themselves a minimum of four more games in the competition after going through 4-2 on aggregate. The hard work had been completed via a 3-1 win in Bulgaria a fortnight ago and Marlon Harewood's first goal of the campaign ensured the return ended all square. O'Neill said: "When we started out in the Intertoto Cup in July, we would have settled for being in this position and I am really pleased that we are through to the group stages.

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill was happy to take their 1-1 draw with Litex Lovech and UEFA Cup progress last night.

Villa guaranteed themselves a minimum of four more games in the competition after going through 4-2 on aggregate.

The hard work had been completed via a 3-1 win in Bulgaria a fortnight ago and Marlon Harewood's first goal of the campaign ensured the return ended all square.

O'Neill said: "When we started out in the Intertoto Cup in July, we would have settled for being in this position and I am really pleased that we are through to the group stages.

"Villa Park has had some great European nights in the past and now we have got some more European evenings to look forward to, at least until Christmas.

"When I was at Nottingham Forest, you think European football will be there every season but then it goes away for four or five years.

"It is a while since Villa played in Europe but we have earned this chance and the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

"This will be a great chance for the young players at the club to experience playing on this kind of stage."

Harewood produced a superb finish to put Villa in front and it needed a controversial penalty from Wilfried Niflore to level matters for Litex early in the second half in front of a crowd of 27,230.

O'Neill said: "Harewood took his goal brilliantly. When he received the ball he still had miles to go to put it into the net and it was a great finish from him.

"I was amazed again at the crowd that turned up for this tie because we were in a good position going into the game."

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