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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Sep 21, 2006

O'Neill vows to Villa will keep going strong

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill has vowed to continue fielding his strongest side for the Carling Cup after reaching the third round at the expense of Scunthorpe.

Juan Pablo Angel scored twice in the 2-1 win at Glanford Park, with new chairman Randy Lerner watching from the stands.

O'Neill resisted the temptation to field a weakened team - only injury-prone Martin Laursen was rested - for the tie in a competition in which he has enjoyed success both as player and manager.

'I understand other managers who are in the Champions League or UEFA Cup, I'm not there to pick other managers' teams - there might be a stage over the next four or five years where it might change around,' said O'Neill.

'But at this minute it's important for us to go as strong as we can, just to keep momentum going.'

Villa, who are still unbeaten this season, withheld early pressure from the hosts and took the lead just before the break when Angel followed up his own penalty, which was saved by goalkeeper Joe Murphy after Luke Moore was hauled down by Richard Hinds.

Colombia striker Angel headed home powerfully after 63 minutes for the second from an Aaron Hughes cross, with O'Neill adding: 'He did very well so I'm particularly pleased, as I am with the other players.'

Although Villa hit the woodwork through Angel, Steven Davis and Gareth Barry, and through Hinds who almost scored an own goal, the hosts were impressive going forward, with Billy Sharp and Andy Keogh particularly effective.

Sharp headed in from a corner after 73 minutes but Scunthorpe could not find an equaliser to send the game into extra-time.

Scunthorpe boss Brian Laws was delighted with his side's application, adding: 'We really stretched them.

'There's a fair few million pounds worth of talent out there but credit to our lads, we played to the best of our ability.

'We don't give, they keep going, the crowd got behind them and I thought the response was positive.

'We wanted to get the ball but the quality final pass let us down and that's just naivety but they will become better players.

'We've given it our best shot but as all managers say at this time, we'll concentrate on the league.'