O'Leary wanted Berson rest
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
David O'Leary admits he wanted to drop Mathieu Berson for the defeat to Man Utd.Aston Villa manager David O'Leary admits he wanted to drop Mathieu Berson for the 1-0 defeat to Manchester United.
Berson was starting just his second game for Villa since his summer switch from Nantes in Tuesday's home loss to The Red Devils.
It was the midfielder's second appearance in two days, having been handed his full debut in the Boxing Day reverse to Chelsea.
Villa chief O'Leary revealed he was concerned how the Frenchman would cope with playing twice in 48 hours and Berson was flagging towards the end of the game before being substituted.
Though Berson produced a solid performance against United, O'Leary concedes he would have preferred to have rested the 24-year-old.
"I thought this game was going to be really hard for him," O'Leary told the club's official website. "They have a Christmas break in France and he's still adapting.
"It was his first start against Chelsea and then to have to play a big game like this so quickly was asking a lot.
"I wouldn't have played him if I'd had a choice.
"Credit to him, he got through it, but he was on his last legs when I took him off.
"With less injuries I would have played him against Chelsea and then left him out of this one. But he's doing well for us."
Meanwhile, Berson has reiterated that he is uncertain how prominent a role he will play at Villa Park for the rest of the season.
Berson admitted after the Chelsea match that he wanted to appear more often and, after the United defeat, he again spoke of the need for clarification about his future.
He told TPS Star: "It is very complex and it is not only up to me."