Villa offer backing to Salifou

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has pledged to support Moustapha Salifou after claiming that the Togo midfielder will be hit hard by his Africa Cup of Nations trauma.

Salifou and Manchester City striker Emmanuel Adebayor both escaped unhurt but three of the team's support staff were shot dead after the Togo team bus was attacked in Angola on Friday.

Togo have pulled out of the competition and travelled home but O'Neill will give Salifou time to recover whenever he makes his return to Villa Park.

"Something like that is going to live with him for a very long time, if not for the rest of his life," he said."It was very, very harrowing and he is actually a very sensitive lad. He's very popular in the dressing room.

"He's very quiet. He's got a wry sense of humour, but he's an exceptional fellow and I think he will take this very badly indeed.

"We have a number of people at the football club who I think can help him.

"Some of the players who are quite close to him will give him as much counselling as possible but I'm hoping in time he will be able to settle down and get back to playing."

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