O'Neill buoyant about Villa build-up

Published Jul. 8, 2010 5:41 p.m. ET

The majority of the Villa squad reported back for duty on Thursday, just over five weeks before the first match of the new Premier League season at home to Avram Grant's West Ham. O'Neill told the club's official website: "The first day back, I think as a player it was never a day you looked forward to because in olden days you were thrown straight into it. By the end of your double session, morning and afternoon, you were feeling really tired. "I was never sure that did much good. Now in the modern day, there are supposed to be more scientific approaches to pre-season training. I think the players will appreciate a steadier climb into things. But as for myself and the backroom staff, we are pleased to be back. "I think now, also, players keep themselves in better condition during the summer break whereas before, way back, that wouldn't have been the case. Overall that sort of general fitness doesn't seem to leave you, particularly if you are in your mid-20s. "They seem in pretty good order. Obviously players here will come back - people who have thought about last season and thought about their own game and how well they did - and in the case of some others what they would have to do to play more regularly in the side. "We will just have a general review of things together in the next couple of days. But really it is about going forward from here onwards and I think it is a pre-season to look forward to."