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O’Neill eyes longer holiday at Villa

Aston Villa boss Martin O'Neill is determined to see his players sign off their Barclays Premier League campaign with a win against Blackburn Rovers at Villa Park tomorrow — so that he can hand them a longer summer break.

Even though Villa have already qualified for the Europa League, there is a lot riding on the outcome of the game.

If Villa lose and Liverpool beat relegated Hull City then O'Neill's side would finish the season in seventh.

That would mean having to start the Europa League campaign in July rather than August and force the players back into pre-season training sooner than O'Neill would like.

O'Neill said: “It would mean that we would not be playing competitively at the end of July if we finish sixth. But it is in our own hands.”

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