O'Neill backs Wenger's foreign policy

BY foxsports • January 27, 2010

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has insisted he has no qualms about Arsene Wenger's selection policy at Arsenal as the two clubs prepare to meet in the Barclays Premier League at Villa Park on Wednesday night.

O'Neill has generally backed homegrown talent to get Villa into the shake-up to secure a place in the Champions League.

In contrast, he could be facing a title-chasing Arsenal side that does not include a single British player.

That is not a problem as far as O'Neill is concerned, though, and he said: "Arsenal have had foreign players for the last six or seven years and Arsene Wenger has built upon that policy.

"There have been times when they haven't included a homegrown player but that is not an issue.

"It depends upon what happens on the field of play and Arsenal are a very fine side."

O'Neill has revenge in his sights after Villa were beaten 3-0 by Arsenal at the Emirates Stadium last month and he has urged the club's supporters to again play their part to the full.

Villa are about to play a fourth successive home game and the backing of the fans helped them recover from a 2-0 deficit in the early stages of last week's Carling Cup semi-final second leg against Blackburn to book their place at Wembley.

Another 40,000 were at Villa Park for the FA Cup tie against Brighton, and O'Neill said: "Home advantage will be a big advantage.

"The fans have been fantastic. It was a great turnout for the FA Cup game when you consider they had spent a lot of money the previous Wednesday evening for the Carling Cup semi-final against Blackburn.

"From that viewpoint, the backing is fantastic and I think what we have to do is go again.

"There have been 15 goals scored in the last two games at Villa Park so the fans are getting their money's worth in terms of the ball hitting the back of the net.

"We are capable of winning the game against Arsenal as long as we don't pick up any more serious injuries."

The injury problems are proving to be a headache for O'Neill as he does not have the biggest squad to call on at the best of times.

He added: "We have a few problems. Nigel Reo-Coker is out for a wee bit longer than we thought and Stephen Warnock and John Carew will not be fit.

"It is obviously at this stage of the season when you playing Wednesday, Saturday, Wednesday, Saturday that we are going to pick up some injuries.

"I wouldn't say we have the same strength in depth as Arsenal or the same quality.

"But we have a group of players who want to play and are improving and have put the club in the position it is in at the moment.

"Getting to the Carling Cup final has been a massive boost and the players are obviously delighted.

"Now all the players have really got to step up in the next couple of months and play their part as they will get their chance."

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