Veteran Cole adds spark for Villa

Burnley 1 Aston Villa 1

Veteran Cole adds spark for Villa

The 33-year-old midfielder has had to bide his time since joining Villa from West Ham in the summer but could not have done much more on his first Premier League start for the club.

Cole linked up brilliantly with Gabriel Agbonlahor, Tom Cleverley and Andreas Weimann as the league’s lowest scorers put on a display of attacking intent and scored his first goal for 11 months late in the first half.

Villa certainly deserved their lead, but they lost their impetus after a tiring Cole went off midway through the second half and Danny Ings earned the hosts a 1-1 draw with an 87th-minute penalty.

Cole said: “It’s always nice to score your first goal for your new club and to score it on my first league start was great.

“It’s been a long time. I’ve had a few niggly injuries and things but I’m just here to play football. I want to help the club and help the young players with my experience and my performances.

“It’s a short career and you want to play football. I’m just disappointed we didn’t get the three points, which would have made it a cracking day for everyone.

“We need to kick on and take the positives out of the game, because there were a lot of positives.

“I enjoyed it. I like playing with Gabby and we’ve also got Christian (Benteke) to come back into the team and Tom and Westy (Ashley Westwood) and Carlos (Sanchez) and Andi.

“We’ve got good players at the club and we’ve got a good manager, and we just need to put that together.

“We know we’re not a top-six side at the moment. We’ve got to make sure we survive in this league first and foremost and then we’ll go on from there.”

Having looked comfortable until Jores Okore conceded the penalty for bringing down Lukas Jutkiewicz, Villa could easily have lost the game.

Ings hit a post and Jutkiewicz missed the target with a header from six yards in a frantic finale that also saw Villa substitute Jack Grealish test Tom Heaton.

Villa’s winless run was extended to nine games stretching back to mid-September and the fans called for the head of manager Paul Lambert after Ings’ equaliser.

The game, meanwhile, came only a day after assistant manager Roy Keane resigned, citing the demands of his role with the Republic of Ireland national team.

Cole insisted that had not had an effect, saying: “It’s a Premier League club, things happens, things go up and down, people come and people go. We just focused on performing and I thought the boys played well.”

While Cole was making his first Premier League start for Villa, young defender Michael Keane made the first Premier League start of his career.

The 21-year-old is on loan at Burnley from Manchester United and came in for Michael Duff, who picked up a calf injury during last weekend’s win at Stoke.

Keane was praised by Clarets boss Sean Dyche, who said: “He did well. It’s tough to come in for your first game.

“He did well last week at Stoke — horrible game to go into as a centre-half. He was nice and solid. He’s a young player, he’s learning and he’s adapting to playing not only for us but into the Premier League.”

Ireland’s Shay Given will not be joining the Villa coaching staff despite having stepped up temporarily last season. The Donegal man is focusing on his playing career.

BURNLEY: Heaton, Trippier, Keane, Shackell, Ward, Boyd, Marney, Jones (Wallace 83), Kightly (Arfield 65), Barnes (Jutkiewicz 65), Ings.

ASTON VILLA: Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Clark (Lowton 90), Cissokho, Cleverley, Westwood, Sanchez, Cole (Grealish 67), Agbonlahor, Weimann (Richardson 78).

Referee: Graham Scott.

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