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Villa boss O'Neill: Wembley pitch not good enough

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has slated the Wembley playing surface.

The pitch, which was used again on Wednesday night for England's friendly with Egypt, was cited by Sir Alex Ferguson as a contributing factor to the hamstring injury that has ruled Manchester United striker Michael Owen out for the rest of the season.

But it has not lessened the desire of the Aston Villa manager to return to the national stadium for the FA Cup final as his side prepare to take on Reading in Sunday's quarter-final.

O'Neill said: "We are going to try to win and get back there, even though the Wembley pitch is not great. It would be fantastic.

"It is very poor for a national stadium. There is really no excuse for it. The stadium costs £800million to sort out and the one thing you'd think they'd get right would be the playing surface.

"I don't know what the reason for it was but, considering it was a showpiece final, it was in very poor condition. It is poor in every aspect, slippery on top, divots being taken out, you lose your footing and Sir Alex Ferguson has blamed the pitch on Michael Owen's injury.

"It looks like they had played 35 games on it the previous week.

"Yes, it was the same for both teams. They've had plenty of time to get it right. It has been up and running for a couple of seasons.

"It was like they had a rock concert on it the night before. The rock concert boys would have complained about it!"

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Tribal Football Staff

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