Football FanCast columnist Davis Lowe wonders if Villa crashing out will ultimately prove a blessing in disguise.
Martin O'Neill came out last night and said he was bitterly disappointed that Villa's European adventure had stopped short. The cynics will suggest that is far from the case, given his apparent disdain for the competition last season, but the truth of the matter is that only misfortune and bad luck prevented Villa from progressing. O'Neill had the big guns out, but unfortunately they were unable to finish the job.
In many ways I truly believe that their European exit will prove a real blessing in disguise for Aston Villa and allow them to fully focus on the domestic picture and allow them to build on the giant strides they made last season. Villa's squad unfortunately isn't strong enough to maintain an assault on four fronts and the new Europa League lay-out will have put a huge strain on the current squad, given the extra games and laborious away trips to far and away places. The full focus can now be on the Premier League and looking to bridge that gap with the Top Four.
Tom Huddlestone came out in the week and welcomed the fact that Spurs did not have the distraction of Europe this season and one game a week left the player's minds fresh and fully focused for the next match. It was interesting to see a player's perspective on a competition that has raised a lot of question marks with regards to its actual value; however it does raise an interesting point on player's concentration and how they are affected by these trips. The Villa players will no longer have that distraction, and their whole emphasis can be on the Premier League and going one better than they did last season. Crashing out of Europe may this morning seem like a blow, but in the long term I believe Villa will benefit without it.
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