O’Neill sets high goals for Aston Villa

He told News of the World: “I don’t think there is any point in being in this league if you don’t have the ambition to drive on.

“If you can’t aspire to be up there, what’s the point?

“The football club is big enough to sustain the challenge. Whether the team is big enough at the moment is a different issue — the gap to the top four is big and it’s only when you are participating in it you realise how big it is.

“Over the whole season we need the majority of our good players to remain fit. Chelsea have had few injury problems but whatever side they put out against us, they will be physically strong.

“That’s where we would be a good distance behind at the moment.”