Martin O'Neill was quick to refute claims from Leicester manager Gary Megson that some of his Villa players had felt the Carling Cup and their opponents were "beneath them".

Megson left the Northern Irishman quietly seething with his comments in a press conference after Villa's 1-0 defeat by the Foxes.

The former Albion and Nottingham Forest manager suggested those Villa players who were playing "would look at it as being a little bit beneath them."

But O'Neill insisted all of his players had taken the match very seriously indeed and assured the fans and his former club he had not selected a much-changed side because he had been taking the competition lightly.

He said: "I am disappointed if he said that or thought about our team.

"There is nothing beneath us, we are not good enough to treat anybody lightly and that was not the case.

"If he (Megson) thinks that by me making a few changes to the team I was taking this lightly - that was absolutely not the case. I wanted to win the match and we didn't do so."

O'Neill was particularly disappointed with his side's exit in the third round because his players have been convincingly punching above their weight in the Premier League.

He said: "We came into this on the back of three good performances at home and I feel since the Liverpool game on the opening day of the season we have been splendid, really

terrific. This is a low point and I can understand why Gareth Barry has said it is a low point as we should have been able to win the game.

"Sometimes I feel I have changed sides around in my managerial career and I have paid the cost. Maybe people should just deserve to be in the side or just be in the side when players are injured.

"I wanted some players to play like Isaiah Osbourne who has been doing very well indeed but I think you have to earn the right to be in the team.

"When I was at Celtic we beat Liverpool in the quarter-final of the Uefa Cup and then we went to Caledonian Thistle in the Scottish Cup and I made nine or ten changes and we lost the game. That sat uncomfortably with me for a long, long time and this result will be the same.

"I am the manager. It's my job and I am pretty sick. We lost the game and every single time you lose a game that you think you should win it is disappointing.

"Some players who have played in games before this season for us did not perform as well as they can but I am not going to blame just three or four changes in the side.

"We are not involved in European football. We are not prioritising so now we have to look to our next game and if we can win at Tottenham Hotspur on Monday that would be terrific.

"I treated this competition very seriously when I was at Leicester and I treated it seriously here."

The manager who chose to rest first-team regulars Ashley Young, Luke Moore and Scott Carson among others was forced to play skipper Barry at left back due to an injury to Wilfred Bouma.

He said: "Barry has played left back for us before. Barry can certainly play left back but that does leave us without his ability in the middle of the field.

"I put in a lot of players who haven't played since the first game of the season. I wanted to try to stay solid at the back but still have ability going forward but it didn't work and I have learned my lesson."