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Martin O’Neill pinpoints the standout players when giving verdict on both Carabao Cup semi finals

Martin O’Neill was the pundit who featured on EFL on Quest‘s Carabao Cup Highlights show last night, and he certainly had plenty to say.

Aston Villa‘s 1-1 draw away to Leicester City was the first game to be shown and whilst majority of the team was praised, there was also thoughts that the Villans’ lacked concentration.


O’Neill said: “Dean Smith came out of the game saying that he was disappointed in the way they played but I don’t think they could’ve played any other way. They had problems to start off with, being short of centre forwards, came into the game with many injuries and their league form isn’t great. For the most part, Villa defended stoutly and scored a goal on the break, which gave them hope and they nearly saw the game through.”

There was praise from the former Villa boss towards Tyrone Mings: “The keeper played very well but you need someone in front of him to perform brilliantly too, which is exactly what Mings did. He was excellent from start to finish.”


O’Neill added on Nyland’s performance, “I thought he was outstanding”, but also said the England boss gareth Southgate had a selection headache over James Maddison and Jack Grealish.

He said: “Gareth wouldn’t have learnt much more about these players by coming to this game. Grealish is a very talented footballer, shields that ball so brilliantly and is a talisman for Villa. Maddison has come on in the last 12 months but they both were playing different roles tonight.”

There was constructive criticism towards Villa by Dean Ashton, who said: “Villa needed to play the game in front of them and it doesn’t matter how many passes Leicester play but it’s about the decisiveness and game management because concentration needs to be at an absolute maximum when playing Leicester City.”

O’Neill expressed his delight on Brendan Rodgers’ spell with the Foxes: “He is doing a fantastic job at Leicester. It is hard to come into a club that won the Premier League a few years ago and since then, gone through a number of managers. He has come in and not only stabilised the club but he has given it another dimension and the players are playing with more freedom. He must take a lot of credit for what they are doing.”


Following the second lot of match highlights, which showed Manchester City comfortably beat rivals Manchester United 3-1 on Tuesday, Martin O’Neill praised Pep Guardiola’s world class side.

He said: “I thought they were terrific. There seemed to be no nerves about the last time they faced each other, where United did them. They were very confident about the way they played and played their game and didn’t worry about Manchester United.”

O’Neill wasn’t so sure about the statement on the 15 minute guide to beat Manchester United.

He added: “I don’t buy De Bruyne’s comments about only taking 15 minutes and understanding the system. Guardiola has them playing in such a manner of repetition that they know exactly what they need to. Great players playing in the precise positions that they feel comfortable in and they can interchange, which is so important.”

There was admiration on Kevin De Bruyne’s performance, stating: “He is a special player. He did not play as much at Chelsea to give a full opinion on it and also being swayed by Mourinho’s comments on him. He’s come to Manchester City and become something else. When he gets it in wide positions, he turns a bit Beckham like.”


Fans can watch EFL on Quest’s flagship show each Saturday from 9pm with midweek shows throughout the season on EFL matchdays. Quest is available on Freeview channel 12, Freesat channel 167, Sky channel 144 and Virgin channel 169 while fans can catch up on the show on-demand via https://www.dplay.co.uk/show/efl-on-quest.

EFL on Quest is back on Saturday at 9pm. Watch the show on-demand at https://www.dplay.co.uk/show/efl-on-quest.

LISTEN NOW: The Official EFL Podcast

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