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Page last updated at 08:56 GMT, Tuesday, 25 August 2009 09:56 UK

O'Neill hits back at Villa fans

Martin O'Neill and Rafael Benitez
O'Neill (right) had more to smile about after beating Rafael Benitez's team

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is still angry with his club's fans - despite Monday's 3-1 win at Liverpool.

Villa were booed by their supporters after a shock 2-0 loss at home to Wigan in the opening game of the season on 15 August, which annoyed O'Neill.

He said: "I'm staggered by what's going on. To get the abuse we got against Wigan was not warranted.

"You pay your money and you can go for it if you want but that can be disheartening for young players."

Having impressed in the last Premier League campaign, Villa have had a stuttering start to this season, with losses to Wigan and then at Rapid Vienna in the first leg of their Europa League qualifier.

His side bounced back on Monday, though, with a solid defensive display to secure their first win against Liverpool in eight years.

BBC Sport's Phil McNulty

An own goal by Lucas gave Villa the lead before Curtis Davies and an Ashley young penalty sealed victory at Anfield, with Fernando Torres scoring for the Reds.

However, before praising his players, O'Neill revealed his continued discontent with the behaviour of some of the club's fans at such an early stage of the season.

"It was all after 45 minutes of competitive play since we finished sixth in the league," added O'Neill. "This is a daunting league. Teams have improved and they have spent money and it's going to be exceptionally difficult."

Of the victory at Anfield, O'Neill stated: "I have quality players and this was a terrific win. I was absolutely thrilled - we put in a big effort in the match.

"We are capable of scoring goals and we did that. We were much fitter tonight and it was a great performance - in terms of effort and ability. What it says about the season? Who knows, it's too early."

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see also
Liverpool 1-3 Aston Villa
24 Aug 09 |  Premier League
Villa still contenders - Sidwell
21 Aug 09 |  Aston Villa
Rapid Vienna 1-0 Aston Villa
20 Aug 09 |  Europe
O'Neill confident despite defeat
20 Aug 09 |  Aston Villa
Aston Villa 0-2 Wigan
15 Aug 09 |  Premier League

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