Martin O’Neill admitted the loss of big John Carew minutes before the Wigan defeat had had an effect on his team as the giant Norwegian was pulled off the bench with an infected toe.
Villa’s top striker last season, with 15 goals, limped down the tunnel just before kick-off in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat much to the frustration of O’Neill who was forced to reorganise his bench and bring young Nathan Delfouneso in as a late replacement.
Carew, who played in Norway’s 4-0 demolition of Scotland in midweek, later said he had been suffering from an infection in his toe which had been too painful to play on. O’Neill later admitted it had been a blow not to have Carew’s services available from the bench.
“John had a foot injury beforehand and the doctor thought he was okay but eventually, after the team went in, he felt it was too sore to continue,” the Villa boss said. “I think if we had had the alternative in the second half of John coming on, he could have given us that much-needed impetus.
“But this is a game for all of us and it is going to be a long season for us.”
Carew said “It is very sore but I am hoping to be on the plane for the Europa game in Vienna on Thursday.”