Barry knew consequence of Euro bow - O'Neill

August 15, 2008

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill insists Gareth Barry 'knew the consequences' of his decision to play against FH Hafnarfjordur in last night's UEFA Cup second qualifying round match.

Barry scored the opening goal as Villa cruised to a 4-1 victory in Iceland, a result which home boss Heimir Gudjonsson admitted has killed the tie off at the halfway stage.

But by playing, Barry may have damaged his chances of a move to Liverpool before the transfer window closes at the end of August - if he still wants to go to Anfield.

Liverpool's pursuit of the England midfielder has been a summer-long saga, however by making a European appearance for Villa, Barry has made himself ineligible for the Champions League group stages, which may make him a less attractive target for Rafael Benitez.

O'Neill said: 'He was in the right frame of mind and wanted to play. Nothing would have stopped him so that is pleasing.

'I have no idea what will happen between now and the end of August.

'He knew the consequences of playing tonight so the decision was very much his.'

O'Neill's side, being watched by England boss Fabio Capello, went into an early 3-0 lead with goals from Barry, Ashley Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor, before Matthias Gudmundsson pulled one back just before half-time.

Martin Laursen restored Villa's three-goal advantage after the break.

Villa have a comfortable advantage for the second leg, and they should ease into the first round proper of the competition when their Icelandic opponents visit Villa Park in a fortnight's time.

Villa face Manchester City in their Barclays Premier League opener on Sunday, but O'Neill said: 'I could not think at all about the game on Sunday until we had played tonight, but I was very pleased with some of the football we played.

'We obviously need to tighten up our defence if we could, but I was very pleased to win.'

Hafnarfjordur manager Gudjonsson conceded his team's European campaign was effectively over.

'Since it is obvious we don't have any chance in the second leg we will concentrate on the league,' said Gudjonsson.

'I don't think this game will break us down, I doubt we'll play against a team as good as this again this summer.'

He added: 'The game was over before it began. We let in two goals in six minutes when there was a total lack of concentration.

'I do not know if players showed Aston Villa too much respect, which was not necessary.

'If you go two goals behind against such a team at home, obviously it will be difficult but we tried and showed sometimes that we are a good attacking team.

'But in football you must also play defence and that we did not.

'Of course I am disappointed. We planned to get more out of this game and were hoping to get a good result - by that I mean a draw or losing by one goal which meant we would be going out there to possibly put pressure on them.'