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Milner: Fifth is ''a great achievement'' for Villa

James Milner believes that if Aston Villa finish fifth it will be a 'great achievement' for the club.

Villa began the season on fire and threatened to qualify for the UEFA Champions League ahead of Arsenal. But a late slump in form, which was only ended when they beat Hull City on Monday to record their first win in 10 league games, means that Martin O'Neill's side must now make do with a place in the Europa League.

England Under-21 international Milner is focused on making sure the season is a success by helping Villa better their sixth-place finish last term and ensuring they hold of the challenge of Everton to finish fifth.

"The negativity does not come from us. We know that we can play better and results have not been going our way," he said. "We have tried to put that right and we have been playing better the last few weeks. We have been unlucky and not had the rub of the green.

"When you start the season as well as we did, then expectations rise. Maybe if we had started really badly and finished the last two thirds of the season the way we started, done things the other way around, people would have said 'what a great season'.

"It's one of those things and the way people look at things. We are still on for fifth place. It is a great achievement. We have had a good season we just have to make sure we finish strongly."

The 23-year-old admits that tiredness may have played a part in the team's dip in form after the early start to season thanks to the Intertoto Cup.

"It has been a long hard season for the lads, having started in the Intertoto," he accepted. "There have been a lot of games and at times during the last few games we have looked tired.

"That's all due to the hard work the lads put in. There is a lot of mileage being put into games, a lot of effort and a lot of games. That's what comes with being successful. You play a lot of games and we have to learn to deal with that.

"It has been a tough spell, but we are still giving our all and putting in good performances and creating chances."

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