Martin O’Neill today passed up the opportunity to commit his long term future to Aston Villa but insists there is “no fall-out” with chairman-owner Randy Lerner.
The 58-year-old plans to sit down and “assess” everything with American businessman Lerner at the end of the current campaign.
O’Neill rubbished reports from earlier in the week that he was ready to quit Villa after unsubstantiated internet claims that he was unhappy with Lerner’s transfer policy.
The former Celtic boss operates via a 12-month rolling contract with Villa which he “hopes to continue” but was less forthcoming when asked about his long-term future with the Midlands club.
O’Neill said: “There is not an ounce of truth in the story that I have had a fall-out with Randy Lerner. In fact, he called me earlier in the week to see where these stories were coming from.
“He was pretty surprised and also very supportive and it was good to hear that. I have been delighted with the investment put into the club. I have been allowed to invest £80m on players.
“If the chairman decided to sell, and he has no intention of doing so, then he could get his money back with interest on four or five of those players.
“It is nonsense to say that I want to walk away now. There is still so much to play for and there is a renewed determination to see it through.”
O’Neill added: “I will assess everything at the end of the season. I will sit down with the chairman and see where we are going.
“There will be a number of determining factors, the supporters, the chairman who will have a big part in proceedings, and I will also play a part because it is my life.
“I will assess everything at the end of the season. I am contacted on a yearly basis and would hope to continue.”
But when asked about if he was at Villa for the long haul O’Neill said: “There is no such thing as a manager saying he is in it for the long haul.
“Possibly there is only one manager who could say that, somebody who has won dozens of honours, championships, European titles, who is based up in Manchester (Alex Ferguson).”
O’Neill insists his zest for football is also as strong as ever as he approaches four years with Villa.
And he is refusing to give up on the possibility of Villa claiming a Champions League spot this season as they look to bounce back from the 7-1 defeat at Chelsea when they visit Bolton on Saturday.
O’Neill said: “I have been here four years, and four years ago the club was in a pretty depressed state.
“I still have the energy and vitality of someone who is 15 years younger and that zest has kept me going.
“In terms of the Champions League, we are going to still give it a go as long as it is possible and I expect a positive response from the players after what happened at Chelsea.”
O’Neill will check on the fitness of several leading players including Richard Dunne, Emile Heskey, James Milner, Gabriel Agbonlahor and John Carew before finalising his side for the Reebok clash.