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O'Neill rues Villa overconfidence

Martin O'Neill
O'Neill was a picture of disbelief and frustration at the final whistle

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill accused his side of overconfidence after they surrendered a two-goal lead in the last three minutes to draw 2-2 with Stoke.

Villa missed the chance to open up an eight-point lead over Arsenal in fifth.

"We were more than disappointed in the dressing room afterwards. In fact, everyone was devastated," said O'Neill.

"With five minutes to go you should be able to see a game out. For the first time today I thought there was a degree of overconfidence about us."

I think the normal top four sides would have seen it through. Is that a lesson we will learn? I hope so

Villa manager Martin O'Neill
O'Neill's men looked to be cruising to victory when Stiliyan Petrov gave them the lead and John Carew doubled on 79 minutes.

But Ryan Shawcross got one goal back with three minutes remaining and Glenn Whelan earned Stoke a point with a dramatic equaliser at the death.

"I just felt, having got the second goal, we should have been able to read the situation better and what might develop in the last couple of minutes," said O'Neill.

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"Once or twice we were still looking to play the sort of intricate football that got us 2-0 up instead of seeing the game out. It is a real disappointment."

Villa are six points clear of fifth-place Arsenal and three points behind Chelsea and Liverpool.

Despite playing some impressive football in the first half, they have now won only two of their last nine home games and are winless in five matches in all competitions.

"We were brilliant in the first half and some of our movement was excellent," said O'Neill. "We started the second half sloppily and didn't get into a rhythm for a while.

Draw feels like defeat - O'Neill

"But we got the second goal and were then in complete control. Stoke were left with nothing to lose and were always going to put the ball into our box and we should have been able to deal with it.

"At the moment it is hard to understand why (they only drew). They came here to sit back and I have not got a problem with that. It is up to us to break them down and we did that.

"I think the normal top four sides would have seen it through. Is that a lesson we will learn? I hope so.

"There are still plenty of games left and we have won games ourselves in the last minute but to drop two points today is galling because for the most part we were excellent."

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see also
Aston Villa 2-2 Stoke
01 Mar 09 |  Premier League
Sunday's football as it happened
01 Mar 09 |  Football
Sunday's football photos
01 Mar 09 |  Football
Arsenal 0-0 Fulham
28 Feb 09 |  Premier League
Middlesbrough 2-0 Liverpool
28 Feb 09 |  Premier League
Chelsea 2-1 Wigan
28 Feb 09 |  Premier League


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