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By ESPN Staff

O'Neill hails Kinnear for revival of Newcastle

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has praised Joe Kinnear for sparking an upturn in fortunes at Newcastle.

Villa face Newcastle at St James' Park on Monday night knowing that a win would lift them into third place in the Premier League just three points off the top.

Victory for Newcastle would pull them out of the relegation zone and O'Neill said: "Joe Kinnear has been an excellent manager.

"He conjured an excellent team spirit at Wimbledon which he really needed as they were playing games at Crystal Palace and didn't have a home of their own.

"If you were going to survive you had to have that spirit and if you were going to prosper, which they did, they had to have something a bit special.

"It was a big, big win for Joe when Newcastle beat West Bromwich Albion last week and you get the impression with Joe that he is desperate to get back into the game.

"This is a great opportunity for him and he has said this is the biggest club he has ever worked in.

"He wants to do his very best. He has got to win and I think there is a new-found spirit there.

"I thought their efforts against Manchester City, when they appeared to have been played off the pitch, and then they found something from somewhere to hit back, was fantastic.

"For the last 10 minutes they were out on their feet but they put in a big effort into the game to get a draw. So, he has something going for him.

"He is at a great, great club and it is not me being sycophantic about it because they are a tremendous club.

"Someone said there were only 45,000 there the other night. Unbelievable. Only 45,000 and the crowd is dropping off!"

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