O'Neill remains optimistic
Martin O'Neill believes Villa's stalemate at Spurs kept Champions League hopes on track.
Last Updated: 07/02/10 9:34am
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill believes that his side's stalemate at Tottenham kept their hopes of a place in the UEFA Champions League on track.
The goalless draw against their rivals for a spot in the Premier League's top four was an entertaining encounter, but was lacking in quality in attacking areas.
Seventh-placed Villa were forced to withstand intense pressure in the closing stages, however, they managed to hang on for a fourth consecutive league clean sheet.
With Liverpool winning against Everton to overtake Spurs in fourth and Manchester City losing at Hull City, O'Neill knew that it was vital to avoid defeat in London.
He said: "It keeps us alive. I'm delighted with the effort because we have a team going week in and week out, and we showed great tenacity.
"It was probably was our best defensive performance of the season, given the opposition."
O'Neill was also full of praise for the excellent performance of goalkeeper Brad Friedel and believes the 38-year-old has improved since the arrival of fellow American Brad Guzan at the start of last season.
He added: "I think he has been reinvigorated with the arrival of young Brad Guzan.
"The two Americans coming together, there's a bit of competition and I just think that Brad has been exceptional. In the last number of weeks his performances have been terrific."