Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill hits back at jeering fans
Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill was disappointed with the reaction of the crowd as his side salvaged a point with a 2-2 home draw against Wolves.
Villa needed an 83rd-minute goal from John Carew - his second of the game - to rescue the game after Wolves had moved ahead through Jody Craddock and a James Milner own goal.
After the home crowd had booed his side off at half-time, O'Neill then cupped his ear towards supporters housed behind the dugout at the final whistle.
He said: "The opening 20-odd minutes was as good a display as we have produced in recent times. It was scintillating stuff and you should have got long odds on us being booed off at half-time.
"But that's the nature of things. I suppose a Carling Cup final appearance, the semi-finals of the FA Cup and battling for a top four place in the league is maybe what is expected to happen here every year.
"Does it upset me? I expect it. It is more the nature of the game nowadays than ever before.
"I don't think it is just an Aston Villa thing but not every single side has reached a cup final, a semi-final and with nine games to go is in the hunt for the top four."
O'Neill had warned before the game that Wolves would provide stern opposition and his fears were justified. He said: "There are no easy games in the division. Maybe if Chelsea, with their fantastic home record, draw at home with the bottom of the league then it would be a surprise.
"But in this division there are so many twists and turns I am sure the fight for a Champions League spot will go on to the end of the season.
"In terms of the effort the team put in, I am not despondent at all. It would have been great to keep the opening 25 minutes going but it was a different game in the second half and we had to fight every inch."
O'Neill hailed the performance of winger Ashley Young for Villa. England coach Fabio Capello saw Young torment Wolves full-back Ronald Zubar and supply a string of telling crosses.
"I thought Ashley was exceptional," said O'Neill. "He was mesmeric. If the England manager was here, that can only be good news for Ashley.
"He really was magnificent. He made the first goal for his but his overall performance was top class. He delivered so many dangerous crosses."
O'Neill revealed that striker Gabriel Agbonlahor had missed the game through a foot injury suffered in training but it was too early to determine how long he will be sidelined.
He said: "Gabby stubbed his foot and opened up the ligaments in the joint which is a real blow for him. Is it a one-game injury? I don't know but it was still very sore on Saturday morning."