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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 21, 2009

Friedel warns Newcastle that Villa are out to win

Brad Friedel has warned relegation threatened Newcastle that Aston Villa will not roll over and gift them three points in Sunday's Premier League clash at Villa Park.

Newcastle need a positive result to keep alive their hopes of remaining in the top flight.

But keeper Friedel insists Villa will be aiming to put their recent poor form behind them in the race to secure fifth place and edge out Everton.

Friedel told TalkSport: "Our form has been a bit disappointing recently. But we are still fighting for a fifth-place finish and that might not bode well for Newcastle as we definitely have something to play for.

"After finishing in sixth place last season we do want to do better this season.

"I know we've already qualified for the Europa League but we are professionals and we do want to do the best we can all the time and we do want to secure that fifth spot.''

Friedel has sympathy for the likes of Newcastle, Middlesbrough, Sunderland and Hull after being involved in relegation dogfights at Blackburn before moving to Villa last summer.

He said: "It's not a nice time for the bottom clubs. I was involved in one or two relegation battles in my time at Blackburn.

"Specifically one season we found ourselves near the bottom with only a few games left. It's not a nice position and it's very difficult to play free-flowing football when you're in that predicament.

"I know Newcastle has a lot of very talented players, especially going forward.

"But when you get to games like this sometimes you tighten up and you're not able to show your stuff. It's not nice for any of those clubs. I don't wish relegation on anyone.''

Friedel is disappointed that Villa were unable to cling onto a Champions League spot after being six points clear of Arsenal at the start of March.

He said: "I'm very disappointed and we were nearly there. We hit a very rough patch of the season at the wrong time.

"As we stopped gaining points, Arsenal started getting a few players back from injury and they went on a long unbeaten run and it just flip-flopped the table for us a little bit. We just found it hard to climb out of.''

Like all the Villa players, Friedel is keen for midfielder Gareth Barry, who has one year left of his contract, to remain at the club.

He said: "Gareth is a massive player for us and he's a massive player for England. He is one of the best players I've played with in my time. It would be a huge blow to us if he left.

"But it would be a great thing for Villa as a club if he stayed.

"In saying that, I believe that he has a year left on his contract so I'm sure it's going to be a busy summer for the Villa hierarchy to try and persuade him to sign. We'll just have to wait and see.

"I have to say, he's a great guy to have around the place. He doesn't show any signs of wanting to leave Villa.

"I think that anything that will come his way will come by way of opportunity and he'll have to weigh all his options up. But he's a very good lad and he's very committed to the club.''

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