O'Neill challenges Berger
Martin O'Neill wants Patrik Berger to reproduce his 'terrific' form from the second half of last season.
By Peter Fraser
Last Updated: 01/10/07 1:24pm
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill has set Patrik Berger the target of reproducing his 'terrific' form from the second half of last season.
Berger was sidelined for the beginning of this season but, having regained fitness, the Czech midfielder has now been challenged to perform by O'Neill.
The former Liverpool man looked to be on his way out of Villa Park after refusing to play in a reserve team match in December and he was loaned to Stoke.
However, Berger returned to the Villa side in the latter stages of last season and earned a new 12-month contract after playing a pivotal role in the Midland outfit's run of nine games without defeat at the end of the campaign.
"I am pleased Patrik is back," O'Neill said. "He was obviously disappointed, after a very good pre-season, to have been out for a while.
"Now he is back and I would like him to think about playing like he did in the second half of last season when he was terrific for us.
"He proved what he is worth last season, deserved his new contract, and I am just pleased to have him back in the fold and available for us."
Meanwhile, O'Neill has backed loan signing Curtis Davies who claimed he played 'like a pub player' on his debut against Leicester in the Carling Cup.
"Curtis was very harsh on himself. It was his first game. Quite naturally he was nervous about it," O'Neill added.
"It is really refreshing to hear Curtis talk about the fact he feels he didn't play well in that game, but he is far from being a pub player."