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Page last updated at 23:03 GMT, Thursday, 26 August 2010 00:03 UK

Kevin MacDonald's Aston Villa job chances suffer blow

Villa's caretaker boss Kevin MacDonald
MacDonald is expected to find out about the role next week

Aston Villa caretaker manager Kevin MacDonald has conceded that the club's Europa League exit could influence his chances of getting the job permanently.

MacDonald could not prevent Villa from slipping to a 3-2 home defeat against Rapid Vienna, 4-3 on aggregate.

Asked if the loss was a major blow to his hopes of securing the post, he was realistic in his appraisal.

"It may have an influence," he replied. "But I must stress it is the media who have put me up as first choice."

Former reserve-team coach MacDonald has been at the helm since Martin O'Neill's abrupt departure on 9 August.

Ex-England coach Sven-Goran Eriksson, former Villa star Gareth Southgate and United States coach Bob Bradley are all believed to be in the running as a long-term replacement.

Villa twice led against Vienna on Thursday, opening the scoring with a first-half goal from the returning Gabriel Agbonlahor before Emile Heskey responded to Atdhe Nuhiu's equaliser.

Villa might have led 3-1 by then, but Stiliyan Petrov had a penalty saved by the visitors' goalkeeper Raimund Hedl and Heskey failed to net a simple chance from the rebound.

It was a key moment for Villa, who were subsequently undone by goals from Mario Sonnleitner and substitute Rene Gartler, but MacDonald insists that his sole focus is the weekend's Premier League appointment with Everton.


"I have never been told I was first choice and expect nothing to change until after the game on Sunday," he added.

"It is a big blow for Aston Villa to go out of Europe again. A lot of the lads were disappointed to go out last season.

"It is a major blow for them. They are professional footballers and proud of what they do.

"My own position is not uppermost in my thoughts 10 minutes after a game. It is not about me, but about how the players and the football club react on Sunday."

MacDonald could not, however, conceal his disappointment at the manner of the defeat against opponents who also beat Villa at the same stage of the competition last season.

"I am very disappointed. We were in total control at 1-0 and gave away a silly equaliser," he said.

"We also missed a penalty and gave away a silly third goal. We made three silly mistakes and we are out of the tournament.

"You can't legislate for individual mistakes from international players.

"But as a group we score goals and we will accept responsibility for mistakes as a group as well."

MacDonald's downbeat reflections were in stark contrast to the elation of his opposite number.

"It feels great to beat Villa for the second year running," said Vienna manager Peter Pacult.

"It is the most emotional success I have had as a manager. I was actually disappointed with the draw because it meant we had to beat a Premier League side again.

"But we produced a top-class performance, an international performance, and I am delighted with the results."

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see also
Aston Villa 2-3 Rapid V (agg 3-4)
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
Europa League as it happened
26 Aug 10 |  Europe
MacDonald still unsure over future
20 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
Villa vacancy interests US coach
22 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
Aston Villa eye quick appointment
10 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
O'Neill quits as Aston Villa boss
09 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
Newcastle 6-0 Aston Villa
22 Aug 10 |  Premier League
Uefa may act over Guzan barrage
20 Aug 10 |  Aston Villa
Rapid Vienna 1-1 Aston Villa
19 Aug 10 |  Europe


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