Belfast Telegraph

Martin O’Neill’s Aston Villa exit not my fault, raps Milner

James Milner has said he feels no sense of guilt at suggestions that that his transfer contributed to Martin O'Neill's resignation at Aston Villa.

O'Neill walked out of the club five days before the start of the season after failing either to keep the England midfielder at Villa Park or receiving assurances from owner, Randy Lerner, that the £24m transfer fee from Manchester City would be made available for team strengthening.

“Yes, I was sad Martin went but it was down to him and he made the decision,” said Milner.

“The club is in great hands with Randy Lerner. He has been brilliant with me and I think every Villa fan should be happy he is at the helm of their club. He will do what is right.

“I have made some big moves in my career. I loved it at Leeds, my hometown club who were unfortunate to go down.

“I went to Newcastle and then saw a good opportunity at Aston Villa. We came very close to winning something last year and just fell short.

“City have different ambitions but their timeline is different. They are moving forward and it is going very quickly. Both clubs missed out on the top four but Manchester City are much better equipped to get there.

“Everything is set up; from the backroom staff to the players on the pitch and I am desperate for that success to come as quickly as possible.”

Milner’s debut for Manchester City saw him play a leading role in the stunning dismissal of Liverpool that was a fitting way to mark Sheikh Mansour's first visit to a club upon which he has lavished so much money.

Milner's second match is likely to be rather more low key; the second leg of a Europa League tie against Timisoara, with Manchester City already one up from the first encounter in Romania.

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