Downing reveals O'Neill blast
Stewart Downing has revealed a dressing down from Martin O'Neill inspired Villa to victory over Burnley.
Last Updated: 22/02/10 10:26am
Aston Villa winger Stewart Downing has revealed a half-time dressing down from Martin O'Neill inspired the team to victory over Burnley.
Downing bagged two goals after the break, his first in the Premier League for Villa, as the home side ran out comfortable 5-2 winners over the relegation-threatened team from Lancashire.
But it was not plain sailing for Villa, and they had to rely on a fortunate Ashley Young goal to cancel out Steven Fletcher's opener to put them on level terms at the midway stage.
The UEFA Champions League hopefuls produced an excellent second-half display though, and Downing heaped praise on O'Neill after the comeback.
He said: "The manager wasn't very happy at half-time. It took a gee-up from him and a few other players to get us going because it wasn't acceptable really.
"It worked wonders because in the second half we looked a different team and played some great football.
"The manager is a great man motivator and half-time was the perfect example with a kick up the backside.
"He demanded more of us as players and there are some big characters in the dressing room and a few things were said and it worked.
"It was a slow game for a long time and once we got the second goal, it gave us a bit of confidence and we played some great stuff in a 15-minute spell and killed the game off."
Downing is starting to find his form at Villa for the first time since moving for £12million from Middlesbrough last July.
Injury had hampered his early time at the club, but manager O'Neill says he is now producing some excellent displays.
"I think Stewart has done wonderfully well for us," he remarked.
"He's had no pre-season, he came straight into the side from injury and has been excellent.
"He did some wonderful things in the game against Burnley. I think he is just getting really properly fit.
"Sometimes the crowd get a bit anxious when he goes 10 yards and then checks back.
"But the first goal he stuck in brilliantly and you can immediately see a lift of confidence - and his second goal came because the confidence was up."