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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 1, 2006

O'Neill unbowed by cash-rich Chelsea

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has vowed to challenge Chelsea in their dominance of the Premiership - and has urged other teams to follow suit.

O'Neill returned to management this summer after taking time out of the game to look after his wife, who was ill, and he has noticed the difference billionaire Blues owner Roman Abramovich has made.

'Chelsea, with heavy spending, are trying to put the game beyond people,' said O'Neill.

'It's not a problem if you try to compete - there's no rule against it and good luck to them - but it stretches teams to the limit.

'It doesn't mean you just sit forlornly and give up the ghost - you get up and just go and compete.'

Despite inheriting a threadbare squad, O'Neill's Villa are third in the league after two wins and a draw at the Emirates Stadium against Arsenal, although the new boss is not getting carried away.

'We got off to a decent start, for a moment or two you allow yourself to appear over the parapet but the next thing you know you get a couple of hammerings and you're back to reality,' said O'Neill on BBC Radio Five Live.

O'Neill revealed a close relationship with new owner Randy Lerner, the American billionaire who also owns NFL team Cleveland Browns.

Lerner is set to provide O'Neill with cash in January for further new signings after the arrival of Stilian Petrov from Celtic.

'I would have liked to have done more in the transfer window because we have four months of players possibly getting themselves injured,' O'Neill added.

'But you know at Christmas it is not the best time to go for other players in the middle of a season for another club, so it is difficult to assess.'

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