Petrov’s plea to UEFA officials

Aston Villa have more than a passing interest in crisis club

Pompey’s situation as it could have a bearing on whether Villa take

part in the competition next season. Pompey, who entertain Martin

O’Neill’s side on Sunday, would normally be able to participate

even if they lose the FA Cup final to double-chasing Chelsea. But

their financial situation could count against them – and then an

extra Europa League spot could be available via the Premier League.

That could let in Villa, who are currently lying seventh and

looking to qualify for Europe for a third successive season. Petrov

said: “We hope that justice will be right in the end and we will

see what is going to happen. “I think if would be wrong for things

to drag on until the end of season with teams not knowing if in

they are in Europe or not. “I think that would be wrong. Teams are

playing, teams are battling and other teams are trying to prepare

for next season. “They (UEFA) need to clear the situation up

earlier than they said (in May).” Villa are still harbouring slim

hopes of qualifying for the Champions League, although Wednesday’s

2-2 draw with Everton has left them facing an uphill task. But

Petrov acknowledges Villa will have to collect 15 points from their

remaining five games and hope Manchester City and Tottenham slip up

during the run-in. “Fourth place is now getting harder to achieve

but we will battle to the end,” he said. “Mathematically we’ve

still got a chance but we need other teams to make mistakes and we

need to win every single game. “If we win all five it may still not

enough because the other teams have got an advantage at the moment

– but we will keep battling on.” Petrov also believes Villa deserve

some tangible reward for their efforts this season. He said: “I

said before the (Carling Cup) final that we needed to make sure we

don’t end up with nothing and it is important we qualify for Europe

for a third year in a row. “We are working really hard but

sometimes it is not going our way. “We have been losing points but

we have been performing well. We have been having chances but we

couldn’t manage to see the games through which is really

frustrating. “It seems like we don’t lose the games but we don’t

have that final bit to win the games which frustrates us all.”