Martin O'Neill had a few level-headed words of warning for those tempted to think that the name of Aston Villa might be on this year's Carling Cup in the wake of Tuesday night's victory over Leicester City.

That was hardly surprising, having won in the final minute of extra time after collecting two questionable penalties against his former team, with whom he had such fantastic success in this competition in his four-and-a-half years in charge.

Given that he was twice a winner of the League Cup as a player with Notttingham Forest, before twice winning it as a manager with Leicester, the drama of Villa's last-gasp victory at the Walkers Stadium had the sages suggesting that he must be on course for another.

But, quite apart from the fact that Wembley is still not yet the prize (no small matter this, given the fact that he remains the last British manager to win a domestic trophy there), O'Neill is also not one to get too carried away with himself. Villa are at Chelsea in the fourth round.

"Somebody said to me about our name being on the cup," he said. "I remember hearing that for the first time when I was at Nottingham Forest.

"It was in the days before Brian Clough, we'd just had a big win over Manchester City and everybody said our name was on the trophy that year but we got beat in the next round.

"Although I'm delighted we're in the hat for the next round, we can so easily get dumped out in the next round."

Being back in Leicester made it a night of mixed emotions for O'Neill, whose last League Cup tie in the city had involved the same two teams at the semi-finals stage in early February of 2000.

There is now a block of flats and a car park where Filbert Street stood and the Foxes have moved a few hundred yards down the road to the well-appointed Walkers Stadium but one thing has not changed.

Leicester, who used to see off Villa for fun in O'Neill's days at the helm, are still capable of giving the West Midlands' top side a game.

Seven seasons ago, it took a first-half injury time strike from Matt Elliott — the only goal of the two-legged semi-final — to take O'Neill's men to Wembley. This time, in a far more free-flowing match, it took until the 120th minute for Gabriel Agbonlahor to settle it. But, as befits a man helped by two fortuitous penalties, O'Neill knew he'd been in a game.

"I wouldn't have wanted to be wired up to one of those heart-monitoring things," he joked.

"It was nice to be made so welcome coming back to Leicester but they then went about their own business from the moment the first whistle blew and it wasn't until Gabby scored right at the end that I could actually say I enjoyed it.

"After scoring early, we didn't get that second goal that would have made it a decent evening for us and they came marauding back.

"When their keeper pulled off the penalty save to stop us winning it in normal time, I actually felt they'd got what they deserved, but we didn't want it to go to penalties. They're always just a lottery and we strived and strived to win it in extra time and, although Leicester were magnificent, I thought we deserved in in the end and that was a great reward for our fans."

O'Neill picked out skipper Gareth Barry and his midfield partner Isaiah Osbourne, on his full debut, as stars of the show. But he was delighted with Agbonlahor, who set up the first goal before scoring the winner.

"Gabby was exceptional," he said. "He's obviously got such blistering pace, but his energy levels are very good too. He's doing the lot at the moment and I couldn't be more pleased with him."

And Villa's luck remains in when it comes to penalties.

The fact that Barry missed the second of his two on the night suggests that Villa still haven't yet totally cracked the small matter of how to take them (three have been wasted out of six awarded so far this season), but they're certainly getting plenty.

"In terms of what might be termed 'generous' penalties, it looks as if the luck's favouring us," he said.

"Having watched the video of Saturday's game, five minutes before the generous one we did get, there was another stone-wall one which we didn't get when the Fulham player put the ball up his jumper. "These things even themselves up. Ask me again in two months, when the next three have gone against us."