Martin O’Neill offered no excuses after seeing Villa slump to third in their UEFA Cup qualification group following a disappointing performance by a weakened team in Hamburg last night.

Villa were second best for much of the night and although Nathan Delfouneso added a late consolation – his second in two starts for the club – it was a bad night all round capped by Steve Sidwell’s late red card.

“We were beaten by the better team,” said O’Neill afterwards. “Obviously I was disappointed to be beaten but we have qualified and we will give it (the draw) due consideration in February.”

Villa have avoided some big names in the hat for tomorrow’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland, with AC Milan unable to displace Wolfsburg from the top of their group.

But they could still end up playing the likes of CSKA Moscow, Udinese or Standard Liege with the home leg first on Wednesday February 18.

“The draw is made tomorrow,” continued O’Neill. “We look forward to that. We are through. I was very pleased with some of the younger players. Nathan Delfouneso did very well, especially in the second half.

“Again, I am disappointed that we lost but we are through. It is the usual thing for a manager being not pleased with the goals – particularly the first.

“We had the ball, Nigel Reo-Coker headed it, their goalkeeper picked it up and rolled it to one of their players and within eight seconds it was in our net.

“It was a poor goal to give away at that time. But we can definitely do much better.

“Carlos Cuellar is having to adjust his game. I have no doubts about him. He has been playing at right full-back, then he comes in to play in the centre and there were uncomfortable moments for us. They possess some very good players.

“But there can be much more improvement in our game from last night,” he added.

O’Neill will now have to do without Sidwell for the first leg of the last-32 tie.

Martin Jol meanwhile, paid tribute to his Hamburg side for topping the group and delivering a fine performance.

“We are very satisfied, it was a great win. We had quite a bit of space in the first half. In the second half it was a little bit tighter, it was a bit like an English game, but 3-1, there are no complaints with that. It was very good.”