Lichaj: Blockbuster performance will see us through in Europa epic
Eric Lichaj was pelted with popcorn on his debut in the Europa League trailer against Rapid Vienna and he can't think of anything butter now than a standing ovation after a starring role in the second leg Villa Park sequel.
Lichaj was thrilled to take to the colossal first team stage and open his appearance account in the cauldron of the Gerhard Hanappi Stadium alongside his fellow young lions.
And now he'd like to play a part in the return game at Villa Park as Kevin MacDonald's men hope to progress to the group stages of the prestigious competition.
Lichaj believes Villa hold the upper hand but must put in an award-winning performance to get through.
He said: "It was a really good atmosphere in Austria.
"All the Vienna fans were jumping up and down - they were actually throwing popcorn at me at one point and I think they were throwing beer at Brad Guzan.
"But it was good atmosphere to play in for my first competitive game for Villa.
"I didn't get chance to sample any of the popcorn after the game! It was too bad we couldn't hold on for the win but it was a good, solid draw.
"We'll take a draw going into Thursday now.
"It was a nice goal - too bad we couldn't get another one in quick succession because we were dominating the first half. It was nice to see Marc and Baz connecting.
"I didn't feel out of place out there at all because last season and this season I've been playing with everyone in training - with all the first team guys.
"I didn't feel out of place at all - I know how everyone plays as well so I was comfortable.
"I think we have the upper hand going into the return leg. They didn't really water the pitch before the game out there. It was stickier for the way they wanted to play. But now the pitch is watered and we can use our flanks more on Thursday.
"That is really our strength - going down the wings and crossing it. So I think we have a very good chance of going through.
"I would love to play a part in that second leg. It would be a really great experience for me.
"That is probably the one thing I would really want right now. It was fantastic in Vienna but I would really like it at Villa Park too.
"Hopefully the fans will make it a very good atmosphere like they always do too."
Cheer on the lads in the second leg on Thursday - click here for tickets.
Go to full match coverage for Aston Villa 2 - 3 Rapid Vienna (24th August 2010) >
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