Printer Friendly

FOOTBALL: Villa owe it to Cruz control.

DAVID O'LEARY has thanked 'Steady Eddie' utility man Ulises de la Cruz for helping Aston Villa to survive a defensive injury crisis - and silence the terrace boo-boys.

De la Cruz was signed by Graham Taylor as a wing-back from Hibernian just over two years ago and he struggled initially to adjust to the Barclays Premiership.

The Villa fans were quick to vent their feelings towards the Ecuador international and it seemed his days at the club were numbered midway through last season.

But the turning point came when Mark Delaney was injured at Fulham last February and O'Leary, with his resources down to the bare bones after a mass exodus of defenders, needed someone to occupy the right-back berth.

Up stepped de la Cruz and he impressed during Villa's end-of-season run, which just failed to earn a UEFA Cup place, and he was given a new contract.

Delaney slotted back into the role at the start of the current campaign but within three matches he had to switch to centre-half to replace the injured Liam Ridgewell and summer signing Martin Laursen.

De la Cruz was required again and he did not let down O'Leary as part of a back four which has conceded only 14 goals in 13 games.

O'Leary, whose side host Spurs tonight, said: "There was nobody else to play there.

"Ulises is a 'Steady Eddie' type. Let's not get carried away. If he had not fitted in, we would have been in trouble, big-style."
COPYRIGHT 2004 Coventry Newpapers
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2004 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

Article Details
Printer friendly Cite/link Email Feedback
Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Nov 22, 2004
Previous Article:CRICKET: Extra pair of hands!
Next Article:FOOTBALL: Gunners weighed down by injuries.

Related Articles
Football: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER DEADLY; ASTON VILLA 3 EVERTON 2 - Dublin's late winner gives boss Taylor a Villa reprieve.
Football: LATE VICTORY WORTH WAIT; ASTON VILLA ......3 LIVERPOOL .......4: Murphy's winner edges dazzling cup tie.
Football: Murphy's winner edges dazzling cup tie.
Villa boost in bid to pip United for Europe.
Football: Villa are mugged by Boro daylight robbery; MIDDLESBROUGH 3 VILLA 0.
Football: KING KEV HITS LIGHT SWITCH; Absent Eric made to eat harsh words.
FOOTBALL: Villa setback.
Football: O'Leary is keen to restore pride; VILLA: Under-fire boss wants to end City jinx and finish season on high.

Terms of use | Copyright © 2018 Farlex, Inc. | Feedback | For webmasters