Aston Villa really have had a poor season and last night went out at the semi-final stage of the Capital One Cup to League Two Bradford. The Villans were defeated by the fourth tier outfit 4-3 on aggregate.
Bradford have to be given immense credit, not just for this victory but for previous victories over Premier League Wigan and Arsenal. They have been fantastic in their run to the final of the league cup.
Phil Parkinson and his players really do deserve their day in the Wembley sun in May. Their spirit and endeavour was a great example for any lower league team.
For all the plaudits Bradford receive, as a Premier League team Aston Villa should really have enough quality to defeat a team from the fourth tier of the English league over two legs.
Those Aston Villa players should be doing much better than they are at the moment. That isn’t just in the tie against Bradford, but in general.
Paul Lamberts team are obviously lacking confidence. However when they took the lead the Villans looked like a completely different team. All of a sudden every player wanted the ball, instead of hiding when the equaliser went in.
A major problem for Villa at the moment is the number of young players in the team. Younger players can suffer from a lack of confidence if they are playing in a struggling team.
Unfortunately for Villa the team is full of young players and games like this will do them good in the long-run, but in the short-term underperforming against a League Two side will lead to an even bigger dip in confidence.
The Bradford team also contained a few younger players, but the difference was the heart and spirit the Bradford players showed. The likes of Nahki Wells and James Hanson showed the Villa players how it should be done.
I must seem like a broken record as I’ve said before that I have doubts over whether some of the young players at Villa are good enough and last night’s performance didn’t go very far to convincing me otherwise.
More importantly the Villa fans have had doubts over the quality of their young players. Last night was proof that some of the Villa players are just not good enough to play for a Premier League team.
If they continue to play as they are then Villa won’t need to worry about their players being good enough to play in the top flight, because they will be in the second tier of English football.
When Paul Lambert arrived at Aston Villa there was near universal optimism amongst the fans that the Scot would help the club progress. He was one of the most highly-rated young British bosses in the game.
Lambert had done a superb job on a budget at Norwich. Villa brought Lambert in to transform the team. When he arrived he inherited a group of youngsters and underperforming experienced professionals.
He has tried to put his stamp on the team, but it looks like he has tried to bring in too many youngsters at the same time. The team seems to lack the balance between youth and experience.
Villa fans probably knew they would need to be patient with Lambert and his young team, but with the team struggling it seems that patience maybe in short supply at Villa Park. Villa produced a good performance in the first half of their last Premier League game at Midlands rivals West Brom at the weekend, but collapsed in the second half.
The players have let the fans down this season. However, they have also let down their manager. The Scot has learnt some harsh lessons at Villa Park and whether he gets the chance to turn things around remains to be seen.
I have to say that although I have written this article criticising Aston Villa, Bradford’s performance over the two legs and for that matter throughout their Capital One Cup run has been fantastic and they deserve to be in the final.
Congratulations to everybody connected with Bradford. It’s been a tremendous achievement to get to the final of the competition. It will be difficult for the Bantams to win the final, but after their run so far I certainly wouldn’t write them off.
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