O'Neill impressed with Villa's fighting spirit

27 April 2008
Martin O'Neill is hoping that the character of his side will see them home in the race for the final European place. His Aston Villa side twice came from behind against Everton courtesy of strikes from Gabriel Agbonlahor and John Carew to earn point which delighted him."We have had to fight back twice in the second half and I thought it was brilliant effort by my team," said O'Neill.

"They never gave up, we have scored a lot of goals this season through some very good play but today was through proper determination to try and stay alive and I thought that was particularly pleasing.

"This season we are the top goalscorers away from home and I don't think you get that by a fluke, we are the second highest scorers in the league and I don't think that is a fluke either.

"I think we keep going and I thought the last 20 minutes epitomised our efforts this season and that was exceptionally pleasing for us.

"We are still in it and to be up there two games to go is pretty remarkable for us."

Everton now face a tricky trip to Arsenal and a home game against Newcastle, while Villa face Wigan and West Ham but O'Neil was refusing to admit that the pendulum had swung in their favour. Moyes said: "We have got two difficult games and Everton's programme is obviously tough as well but my own view would be, if you are three points clear with two games to go I think that's the sort of position I'd rather be in."

After twice going ahead through Phil Neville and Joseph Yobo, Moyes was understandably disappointed to only take a point but he was delighted to see a much improved performance after his side had lost three of their last six.

"I thought we came out of the blocks quickly, in the first 15 minutes if we had taken a bit more care with our final pass we could have been ahead but overall I was pleased, the performance was much better and the players were beginning to get back to the levels they have been at for most of the season.

"It took two good finishes from two defenders and I was really pleased to see them on target because we are lacking goals upfront at the moment."