Martin O’Neill has warned against Aston Villa becoming the latest team to be foiled by Fulham – even if it is a minor miracle the Cottagers are still in the Premier League.

Arsenal, Tottenham and Newcastle are among the high-profile scalps already racked up by Roy Hodgson’s fast-improving side, while title-chasing Liverpool could not find a way past their resolute rearguard in last weekend’s goalless draw.

The result left the west London club ninth in the table just six points off fourth-placed Villa.

A far cry from last season, when it took three victories from their last three games to stay up by the skin of their teeth, edging out Reading on goal difference with a meagre points total of just 36.

O’Neill said: “He (Hodgson) has done terrific. Last season it was almost an impossibility to get out of that situation. When they were two down against Manchester City (and came back to win 3-2) it looked as if that was it.

“For them to conjure that victory to give them hope and then go and win at Portsmouth (on the final day) was extraordinary. It was almost as if it was written in the stars, it was unbelievable. I think they have set their sights much higher this season.

“I’m not surprised by the start they have made. From the outside looking in it looks as if there is a good spirit about the side and they look as if they want to play for each other.

“It will be a difficult game. Fulham had a great result against Liverpool and I don’t think you need any further reminding about it, it’s there in front of you.

“They have gone to Anfield – Liverpool are in all their glory at this minute – and they came out with a very creditable draw.”