Warnock hails mentality

Villa ace says team have gained winning attitude to be a success

Warnock: Winning mentality

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Stephen Warnock believes Aston Villa now have the winning mentality needed to compete for major honours.

Villa, taking a 1-0 goal lead from the first leg, booked their place in the Carling Cup final after a pulsating game at Villa Park when they came from 2-0 down to beat Blackburn Rovers 6-4 on the night.

Warnock even managed to get himself on the scoresheet against his former club as he slammed home an Ashley Young cross to get Martin O'Neill's side back in the game at 2-1.

Villa will now face either Manchester City or Manchester United in the final but Warnock is confident the Midlands club have the ambition and the experience to bring the cup home.

"We have got big players at our club who are ambitious and want to play in finals every year and that's what we are trying to do," he said.

"They say with the likes of United and Chelsea, it's the learning how to win and getting that into your system, knowing how to win and doing that, and trying to repeat it.

Experienced players

"We've got players in the team who know how to do that. They've got experience now, the likes of Richard Dunne and James Collins, Emile Heskey.

"They are the sort of players you need around the squad to bring the younger lads through it.

"Playing in a final will mean everything to the young lads in terms of their development and hopefully it will give them the ambition to go on to achieve so much more in their careers.

"We will take anyone in the final. It's a one off game and we will go there with the ambition to win it."

Carling Cup success would guarantee Europa League football next season but Warnock insists the team's main focus is to get that final UEFA Champions League place.

"People ask if winning the Carling Cup will take the pressure off but we are still aiming for the top four," he explained.

"We want Champions League football. I don't think it takes any pressure off. It just inspires us to be more ambitious."


Meanwhile team-mate James Milner, who was a disappointed spectator the last time Villa won the competition in 1996 when Brian Little's side beat his beloved Leeds, declared that Villa would not be heading to Wembley just to make up the numbers.

"We know we are going to come up against a quality team whoever it is and, although it is a great day out for the fans and the club, we are going there for just one thing, to win, not just to enjoy our day out," he stated.

"We know we can beat anyone on our day so it is down to us to go down there and put on our best performance.

"It is my first final and the same for a few of the boys. We've got there and it is down to us to win it - but there is a lot of football to be played before that as well.

"We've got a big game in the FA Cup and there are plenty of league games and it is down to us to keep this form going."