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O'Neill calls on his Villa to repeat success of 80s side

Martin O'Neill has challenged his Aston Villa players to start emulating the success of the 1980s side which won the league title and European Cup in successive seasons.

O'Neill had pictures of the players who achieved so much glory in the past sprinkled around the walls of the Bodymoor Heath training ground when it was rebuilt early in his reign at Villa.

Now the former Celtic boss wants the 2010 squad to take the first step towards such glory in tomorrow's Carling Cup final clash with Manchester United at Wembley.

O'Neill said: "Winning a trophy is the ultimate. There is no getting away from that and it would be fantastic.

"We have a lot of pictures of the old teams around the training ground: it is something to aspire to.

"I have often said to keep the pictures up on the walls of the 1981 league-winning side and 1982 European Cup-winning side. The early 1980s was a fantastic spell for Villa.

"The history of the club is there to see, a great tradition, so we'd like to try and do something about it. That is really what the team is there for."

O'Neill believes lifting silverware for the first time for the current crop of players will have major significance in their development.

He said: "Winning the first trophy is the most difficult. I remember way back, when I was a player at Nottingham Forest, we won the Anglo- Scottish Cup.

"We played Ayr and Kilmarnock in the early rounds and Leyton Orient in the final and we won it and the manager, Brian Clough, was in raptures about it because it was the first trophy we had won.

"He felt himself it was the start of something. The trophies the team won in the next couple of years, the league title and the European Cups, were founded on winning that trophy. That was very important.

"In the big scheme of things no one would pay any attention to it -- but it was important to win that first cup."

O'Neill appears to have a virtual clean bill of health with skipper Stiliyan Petrov winning his battle to overcome a virus which kept him out of the FA Cup fifth-round replay win over Crystal Palace in midweek.

Brad Friedel, James Collins and Emile Heskey, who were all rested for that game, will come back into contention to be part of the starting line-up at Wembley.

Friedel is likely to be preferred in goal to Brad Guzan even though he has played all five matches in the Carling Cup so far this season.


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