Aston Villa were ‘robbed’ in Man Utd final, says former boss O’Neill

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Martin O’Neill feels his Aston Villa side were robbed when they lost to Manchester United in the 2010 EFL Cup final, as he reflected on his tenure with the club.

In charge of Villa between 2006 and 2010, O’Neill was denied a trophy when United triumphed 2-1 at Wembley during what proved to be his last season.

He still rues the decision from referee Phil Dowd not to send off Nemanja Vidic for conceding a fifth-minute penalty when he brought down Gabriel Agbonlahor as the striker bore down on goal.

James Milner converted the spot-kick but Michael Owen promptly equalised and United substitute Wayne Rooney scored a late winner to break Villa hearts.

“Going back 10 years, we had a very fine side, we had some really good players,” O’Neill said to Stats Perform News.

“I think if you talk about teams at that time, Manchester United were a really good counter-attacking team.

“They were a counter-attacking team who would suck sides in and then they could break with their pace on the sides and brilliant, brilliant players all over the pitch. 

“But we were an excellent counter-attacking team too. We had pace in the side, strength in the back, we invited teams on to us and then we could break.

“We had Ashley Young, James Milner – who is still brilliantly plying his trade, Agbonlahor, John Carew, a strong midfield too, [Habib] Beye, [Stiliyan] Petrov, so it was a really good side. 

“Sorry, I’m just digressing because I’m starting to think about my team. 

“To be robbed of the final of the League Cup in 2010, the referee Mr Dowd who made up the rules as he went along! 

“Vidic should have been sent off after five minutes, those were the rules of the game, but the referee decided to make up his own rules – must have been about 20 minutes before the game started. 

“We would have gone on to have won that.”