Heskey - Villa in CL race
Striker claims Fulham win underlines top-four credentials
By Elliot Ball. Last Updated: February 2, 2010 1:43pm
Heskey: Top-four tilt
Emile Heskey says Aston Villa are back in the hunt for a UEFA Champions League place after beating Fulham at the weekend.
The 32-year-old's strike partner Gabriel Agbonlahor grabbed a brace at Craven Cottage to end Villa's barren league spell in front of goal to move Martin O'Neill's side back in contention for a top-four finish.
The West Midlands outfit had fallen off the pace after failing to score in their previous four top flight matches, but Heskey reckons Saturday's win in the Cottagers' backyard proves Villa's Euro hopes are alive and kicking.
"You see teams - top-four teams - go there and get outplayed but we really got at them and I think we deserved the points," Heskey, who referred to Fulham's victories over Manchester United and Liverpool, said in The Mirror
"Now we've got to try and keep our foot on the pedal.
"We always come bouncing back. We will never give up.
"Our confidence was high anyway because of the performances we had been putting in, but you've got to get the goals to go with that and against Fulham we did.
"They are a good side and they pass it around well.
"But we are all buzzing. We have some really great lads and we get on really well together. It's a nice atmosphere."
Nicky Shorey will not be part of that atmosphere after the defender moved to Fulham for the rest of the season on transfer deadline day.
And the former Reading left-back, who had been on an emergency loan at Nottingham Forest last month, spoke of his gratitude to O'Neill after the Villa boss allowed the 28-year-old to seal a switch to West London.
"I can't thank Martin enough for the opportunity to get some first-team action in the Premier League," he said.
"I am keen to show everyone I have the quality needed to play in the top flight."