O'Neill vents his spleen


Soccer: Aston Villa boss Martin O’Neill launched a scathing attack on England captain John Terry following a tackle on international team-mate James Milner that could have left the Aston Villa player with a serious injury at Wembley.

Terry was booked in the second half of Chelsea’s 3-0 win yesterday when he caught Milner on the calf with a high tackle in the Aston Villa half.

After treatment, Milner was able to continue, much to O’Neill’s relief after an incident that left a sour taste in the Derry man’s mouth.

“It was an horrendous challenge on an England team-mate,” said O’Neill. “James Milner is exceptionally lucky his career is intact. It should have been a straight red card.

“It could have been very serious. James is lucky to have got away with it. The fact his leg was in the air helped. I have spoken to the doctor who says he’s a very lucky boy.”

It was one of two contentious incidents in the game that left O’Neill fuming, with his ire directed in this instance at Terry and referee Howard Webb, who the Villa boss is convinced did not take the correct action.

“He’s 15 yards outside the box and going away from goal. It was a pointless challenge,” said O’Neill. “But he made it and therefore the consequences of it should have been a red

card.It was an obvious decision. You didn’t need four replays to see it.”

Just over a month after leaving the same stadium furious that Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic was not sent off for a foul on Gabriel Agbonlahor in the opening minutes of the Carling Cup final, O’Neill believes Villa suffered an even greater injustice this time.

Villa did not get a penalty when John Obi Mikel brought Agbonlahor down, when it seemed Paulo Ferreira was unlikely to get across and cover, leaving Mikel as the last man.

“I am sitting here five weeks on talking about another major incident,” said O’Neill. “It is incontestable. Even the Chelsea players knew, you could tell by their reaction it was a penalty.

“The referee has chosen to ignore it because of the possible consequences.”