O'Neill hails 'exceptional' Young

BY foxsports • March 21, 2010

Martin O'Neill hailed a "mesmeric" performance from winger Ashley Young as Aston Villa salvaged a point with a 2-2 home draw against Wolves.

England coach Fabio Capello saw Young torment Wolves full-back Ronald Zubar in the Premier League clash at Villa Park on Saturday and supply a string of telling crosses.

But Villa needed an 83rd-minute goal from John Carew - his second of the game - to rescue the game after Wolves had moved ahead through Jody Craddock and a James Milner own goal.

O'Neill said: "I thought Ashley was exceptional. He was mesmeric. If the England manager was here, that can only be good news for Ashley.

"He really was magnificent. He made the first goal for his but his overall performance was top class. He delivered so many dangerous crosses."

O'Neill was disappointed with the reaction of the crowd at half-time and then cupped his ear towards supporters housed behind the dugout at the final whistle.

He said: "The opening 20-odd minutes was as good a display as we have produced in recent times.

"It was scintillating stuff and you should have got long odds on us being booed off at half-time.

"But that's the nature of things. I suppose a Carling Cup final appearance, the semi-finals of the FA Cup and battling for a top-four place in the league is maybe what is expected to happen here every year.

"Does it upset me? I expect it. It is more the nature of the game nowadays than ever before.

"I don't think it is just an Aston Villa thing but not every single side has reached a cup final, a semi-final and with nine games to go is in the hunt for the top four."

O'Neill had warned before the game that Wolves would provide stern opposition and his fears were justified.

He said: "There are no easy games in the division. Maybe if Chelsea, with their fantastic home record, draw at home with the bottom of the league then it would be a surprise.

"But in this division there are so many twists and turns I am sure the fight for a Champions League spot will go on to the end of the season.

"In terms of the effort the team put in, I am not despondent at all. It would have been great to keep the opening 25 minutes going but it was a different game in the second half and we had to fight every inch."

O'Neill revealed that striker Gabriel Agbonlahor had missed the game through a foot injury suffered in training on Friday but it is too early to determine how long he will be sidelined.

He said: "Gabby stubbed his foot and opened up the ligaments in the joint which is a real blow for him.

"Is it a one-game injury? I don't know but it was still very sore this morning."

Wolves boss Mick McCarthy saluted a "terrific performance" from his team as they took their points tally to four from successive away games with Burnley and Villa to edge further away from the bottom three.

He said: "When Villa's first goal went in, I suppose everyone expected them to go on and win by four or five goals.

"It was nice to kick against the trend and it was a terrific performance and a fabulous point.

"The last two results have been good but we have given ourselves encouragement with our actual performances in the last six or seven games.

"We actually matched Chelsea and Manchester United most of the time and got nothing. It is just nice to have results to back performances up.

"I thought their first goal was offside but for the second one we defended badly. Let's be honest, Villa had their chances but we also could have won it."

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