Jamie O'Hara takes Aston Villa Champions League swipe as brutal 'Aston Vanilla' remark made

Jamie O'Hara puts Aston Villa under the microscope in his latest radio debate
No holding back... Jamie O'Hara puts Aston Villa under the microscope in his latest radio debate (Image: Screenshot: YouTube: talkSPORT) -Credit:Screenshot: YouTube: talkSPORT

Jamie O'Hara questioned whether Aston Villa deserve to qualify for next season's Champions League after failing to win this year's Europa Conference League.

Villa's elimination at the semi-final stage was confirmed on Thursday night as Unai Emery's men slumped to a 2-0 defeat in Piraeus, resulting in a 6-2 aggregate loss to Olympiacos. It was a competition they were favourites to go all the way in from the outset, right up until that shock to the system at Villa Park eight days ago.

The season is far from over and so long as Villa don't lose both remaining matches to Liverpool and Crystal Palace while Tottenham Hotspur win all of theirs, then fourth place and a spot amongst the European elite will be confirmed.

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However, speaking on talkSPORT O'Hara bluntly questioned: "It's almost like, do they deserve it?"

The former midfielder added: "We look at David Moyes and West Ham win the Europa Conference League, unbelievable feat really. Then you see Aston Villa - who are fourth in the table and gonna get Champions League football next season - and they put in a performance like that.

"Do they deserve to be in the Champions League next season after that? They're crawling over the line. Miles off it. Well beaten."

Following this initial scathing review, O'Hara was debated by co-host Jason Cundy - who not impressed either branded the performance 'Aston Vanilla' - and a supporter on the radio show's live phone-in session. He went on to recognise Villa's achievement via the Premier League this campaign, but explained that two things must ultimately happen if Emery is to get his side Champions League ready.

"The high line that they're playing, I mean if you play that high line in the Champions League next season I'm sorry, that is going to get exposed," O'Hara warned. "They've had a good season, got some good players but if you play that high line you've got to have some serious, serious centre halves and some serious full-backs. They got exposed."

Prompting the need for signings, he added: "You'd like to think Aston Villa would invest in the summer if they get Champions League football, get some better players in, but mate, that performance. Surely if you're getting into the Champions League next season, surely you've got to win the Europa Conference League."

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