Gareth Barry believes the never-say-die spirit instilled into the Aston Villa players by manager Martin O'Neill can help them sustain a push for a European spot.

And the England midfielder is adamant Villa will not suffer a hangover from their FA Cup exit at the hands of Manchester United when they entertain Reading in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday.

Villa have revealed a steely side to their character in fighting back from positions of adversity on several occasions in recent games.

Barry rescued a point with a last-gasp penalty at Chelsea, then Villa came from behind to win at Wigan before recovering from conceding an equaliser against Tottenham to score a late winner through Martin Laursen.

Barry said: "One of the big changes is the character we have shown when we have been pinned back or gone a goal behind. We have gone on to get a point or to win games from that sort of situation. Even in the last league game against Spurs, we conceded a goal late on and recovered to win again.

"It is the big thing in the team at the moment, the desire and belief that we can go on to win the game when things go against us for a little bit.

"That will help to keep us going in the coming months when we want to keep pushing to be in the top part of the table.  It is something from day one that Martin O'Neill has tried to stamp on the players, that you are never out of a game.

"Even if we are two or three down at half time, the manager is still telling us we can get something out of the game which is great for a player to hear."

Barry added: "It will be important not to get a big hangover from the cup defeat, and I am sure that is not going to happen. We were not unhappy with the way we played against United. We stopped the best team in the country from creating chances for long periods.

"It was probably as comfortable as we've been against United in a good few years. We made a little mistake at the end and they capitalised. We will bounce back against Reading and our confidence will still be high.

"There has been a massive improvement in the team and that certainly helps you as individuals. There are so many players that are playing well regularly."