We still have hunger – Milner

Milner admits it was hard to take being beaten by Manchester United

after he had given Villa the lead from the penalty spot in a

controversial incident where Nemanja Vidic escaped being sent off

after holding back Gabriel Agbonlahor. But there has been no time

to wallow in self pity for Milner who featured as a substitute in

England’s midweek international win over Egypt at the same stadium.

Now he will be looking to help Martin O’Neill’s side overcome

giant-killers Reading, who have already knocked out Liverpool and

Burnley, in Sunday’s away quarter-final meeting. Milner said: “I

was massively disappointed. The disappointment is still there. The

pain was as bad as when I was relegated with Leeds. It was on that

same sort of level. “But, with having a game on Wednesday, I had to

refocus straight away and look forward to the next game (for

England). “If I had been back at the club, I would have had a full

week to think about the final a lot more and would have been going

over and over the game. “But having another big game two days

later, and being in a different environment with the England

players, helped to refocus the mind.” Milner added: “Those

experiences, like the one in last weekend’s final, have to make you

stronger as a footballer. “We put in a good performance, made

chances and could have at least taken the game into extra time with

the chances we created. “You really have to make sure you take the

positives out of any situation. It is a big learning curves playing

in major finals. “We had great support on the day and it was

disappointing not to win for ourselves, for the club and for them

as well. “But it has made us even more hungry – if that was

possible – to get back to Wembley for the FA Cup final. “You want

to do as well you can in any cup competition but maybe there is an

extra incentive now to go again and make it second time lucky.

“When you’ve tasted that sort of occasion as a loser, you want to

taste it as a winner. “We have some big games coming up, we’re

still challenging for fourth spot in the Premier League and an FA

Cup final, and hopefully it can be a successful season.” Milner has

had a hectic spell, having played for the England Under-21s in last

summer’s European Championships and being a virtual ever present

for Villa this season. But he dismisses any fears of burnout ahead

of the World Cup finals providing he undergoes the right

preparations in between matches. He said: “We’ve played a lot of

games but that is where the preparation and the recovery side come

in. We get looked after very well. “We know what to eat, when to

eat, drinking the right recovery drinks, having massages, things

like that. “It is how you prepare and recover that makes that

difference and, in any case, if you are playing more games, it

means you are more successful. “I am sure the players would rather

be playing more games than less.” Villa boss Martin O’Neill will

assess the fitness of his players following their return from

international duty before naming his side. But with Emile Heskey,

Stephen Warnock and Stewart Downing not featuring for England

should mean they are fresh to face the Royals.