Young glad Villa boss kept the faith

BY foxsports • February 22, 2010

Ashley Young has thanked Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill for keeping faith in him when doubts were raised over his form this season.

Young gave another demonstration of his worth with his performance during Sunday's 5-2 home win over Burnley which kept Villa in the hunt for a Champions League spot.

The former Watford player scored a first-half equaliser and then set up a vital second goal for Stewart Downing.

It has been a talking point as to whether Young has reached the same heights as 12 month ago when he helped Villa finish in the top six for the second season running - but O'Neill has remained fully supportive.

Young said: "There have been times when people have said 'I've not had as good a season as last season'. But the manager has been full of praise for me, has always backed me non-stop, and I just want to do well for the team and the manager.

"He instils a lot of confidence into you.

"If you look at the displays, especially in the last weeks that I have put in, I am delighted with them - and just delighted how things are going for the club."

Young believes Villa are starting to see the best of fellow wide player Downing, who netted his first brace of league goals for Villa since his £12 million summer move from Middlesbrough.

He was sidelined for the first half of the season with the broken foot sustained in a challenge by Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov in April but has quickly slotted into the side in recent weeks.

Young said: "Stewart has come into the side and he has done terrific for us. He was out for so long through injury and different players take different times to settle into a team.

"But Stewart is a top-class player who has settled in here straight away, and the way he has played means it hasn't looked like he had been out for that long.

"He has been brilliant since he came into the team and he was brilliant against Burnley.

"Goals always boost your confidence but he is a confident player anyway. You see him in training and see him in games so far and he has done some great things."

Young admitted Villa responded to a verbal half-time lashing from O'Neill after a below-par opening 45 minutes against the Clarets.

He said: "The manager wasn't happy - and he was right not to be happy with the performance we put in during the first half.

"But we bounced back and put in a good performance and got the win we deserved on our second-half display.

"We were disappointed to go a goal down but it has been instilled into us to bounce back from setbacks and that is exactly what we did.

"We got the equaliser at a crucial time and in the second half we came out and took control of the game."