O’Neill demands league focus

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has urged his squad to focus on matters in the Premier League after securing a place in the semi-finals of the Carling Cup.

A 4-2 win at Portsmouth set up a last-four showdown with Blackburn Rovers, but O'Neill insists that the bread and butter of league progress must take centre stage until the new year.

He told the Birmingham Mail:"It's great now to be able to put the Carling Cup to one side for a few weeks after the draw.

"We'll wait until it's round the corner, but at least it's something to look forward to after Christmas.

"In terms of the league, Manchester City have gone strongly this season and Tottenham Hotspur are very strong, so it's a tough old business.

"But we're hanging on in there. Now we have to try and win against Hull City on Saturday to keep ourselves above water.

"We've got a really tough programme between now and the New Year, six exceptionally tough games. I hope we're still standing at the end of that."

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