O'Neill challenges Baros to improve

January 4, 2007

Martin O'Neill has challenged Aston Villa striker Milan Baros to recapture the form which won him the Golden Boot at Euro 2004 - but admits he is unsure whether the Czech star wants to remain with the club.

Milan Baros
Empics / JohnWaltonMilan Baros: O'Neill challenge.

Baros was regarded as one of the hottest properties in the game after the championships in Portugal two and a half years ago.

But he only spasmodically hit top form since then, having joined Villa in a £6million switch from Liverpool in the summer of 2005.

Baros was top scorer with 12 goals last season but has looked a shadow of his former self during the current campaign to leave O'Neill in the dark as to the extend of his desire to play for Villa.

O'Neill said: 'Milan is still trying to find the form that made him the player that moved to Liverpool, that scored the goals in the international matches and won him the Golden Boot.

'He scored against Sheffield United recently and goals give people big boosts of confidence, especially strikers. If a striker is not scoring goals, then he is going to ask himself some questions.

'Can I get the best out of him? A number of players I managed will say I did nothing for them. There is no such thing as this magic wand that you wave and players suddenly find form they hadn't produced before.

'Ultimately it is up to players. They do the playing and they are the ones will accept the plaudits if things are going well. If people have the stage on which to perform, it is up to them to do that.

'You need the stage often enough. I cannot guarantee anyone, with very few exceptions, playing every single week. Does Milan want to stay? I wouldn't be sure. I don't know.'