In usual big game pre-match fashion, we’ve had a quick chat with Damian from The Villa Blog about Sunday’s League Cup final.
Scott the Red: What would constitute a good season for Villa?
Damian: A good season for us will be winning the League Cup or even, if things go our way and we get a bit of luck, the FA Cup. At the start of the season, I said it had to be progress in the league, but I am blinded by silverware at the moment and afterall, isn’t winning things, what it’s all about?
STR: Of course. Whilst achieving a higher league position is great, I doubt it would bring that same intense feeling seeing your captain lift a trophy brings. So, what for next season?
D: Our expectations should be to do better than 6th and look to challenge the top four. I hate writing that, as if the top four is the be all and end all, but in terms of realisticly what is possible – it has to be to finish top four and beat off the likes of Spurs, Manchester City and Liverpool, who are losing the plot.
STR: Well there’s currently just one point between the four clubs between 4th and 7th, so to be the club that breaks away from that would say a lot. Which player stands out at someone who helped achieved your current position this season?
D: Richard Dunne. He has come in and replaced Martin Laursen and done itsuperbly. Fantastic defender.
STR: I was expecting you to say Young, Milner or Agbonlahor to be honest, as they’re the players that tend to steal the headlines, but there’s no doubting the former City skipper has come in and done a great job (just look at my fantasy football team!). How long do you think you can keep Young for?
D: Webcam will stay for as long as he believes we are progressing. For a club like us, we need to progress for players to want to stay and it is understandable. But if he keeps getting better and we stop progressing and someone comes in for him, can he be blamed for wanting to go to a bigger club?
STR: Speaking of people leaving Villa for a bigger club, Martin O’Neil is often mentioned as one of the potential managers to replace Sir Alex Ferguson. My personal preference is for Laurent Blanc but do you think O’Neil could cut it at United?
D: I really do think this is a question you should ask your own supporters and I will be bringing it up in my daily post tomorrow, to see what your fans think.
STR: Gareth Barry fancied himself as someone capable of moving up to a bigger club, yet instead opted to play for City. How have you got on since he left?
D: Gareth who? He was a decent player but he was slow, couldn’t track back or tackle and really only had a left foot and I’ve said this for years, not just since he left. A decent player for sure, but we got the best deal with him going to Man City.
STR: Who got the best deal for Fabian Delph? We were linked to the lad but he hasn’t appeared to hit the ground running in the Premiership with Villa. Was he worth the money?
D: It is impossible to say at the moment, but I am a big fan. He has vision and is not frightened of trying things. With a little more time and confidence these things will start to come off and players around him will learn. He has bags of potential and we need to nurture it and not try to change his natural game. He really could be a very special player. Ask me again in two season though, but I hope also by then, you will know if he was worth it or not.
STR: O’Neil seems to have done a decent job in the transfer market with Villa, so Delph has that on his side. If O’Neil could take any player from United, who would you want, aside from Rooney?
D: Given the choice, and taking everything into consideration, I’d take Berbatov. Say what you want about him, but the man is class.
STR: I wish all of our fans could see that! I’m a big fan of Berbatov so it’s nice to hear that fans of other clubs can see the class in him. What about your feelings on the teams at the top? Who do you want to win the league?
D: I hope you lot do. I don’t like Chelsea and dont think Arsenal have the balls and Liverpool are about to implode.
STR: How nice. I can feel the love in the room. Just to spoil that, does the thought of Federico Macheda give you nightmares?
D: It was horrible, but we learn by our mistakes. It is nice, in a way though, to see it appears to have just been his moment as we have heard little else about him.
STR: Be fair. He was only 17 when he scored that goal and he is only 18 now! It’s a bit premature to think that was the last you’ve heard of him! Anyway, more about United and Villa. What is your favourite ever Villa vs United game?
D: Dare I say it, 1994, but I hope to be able to say 2010 on Monday.
STR: And finally, what are your predictions for the final?
D: Only because you have so many players missing I am going to say us. If you were playing your strongest side, I’d be mad and I’m not convinced Sir Alex is going to even play your strongest available team on Sunday as he has more important things to think about. I also think he has a soft spot for Villa, which in no way will mean he doesn’t want to win, but we are not Manchester City – he doesn’t want to stop us winning sivlerware as much as he didn’t want them winning some.
STR: Good stuff. It should be a good game, with Villa up for it, but after our 10 man performance against you the other week, I think we’re right to be fairly confident. May the best team win, but failing that, come on United!