‘We could have scored more’

ASTON VILLA assistant manager Gary McAllister praised his team’s performance against Arsenal by saying that his side could have gone three or four goals up.

Villa went 2-0 up in the first half at the Emirates Stadium, as Darren Bent took advantage of some slack Arsenal defending, and McAllister was delighted with his team’s performance.

“It’s been a good day,” he said, “a good performance and a great result. There’s very little that I can fault. As an attacking force in the first half we were excellent and then in the second half we knew they would come at us in numbers and as a team we defended really well.

“I thought we could have been three, maybe four up. Arsenal do start fast and try to get the crowd going — but we reversed that on them.’’

Thomas Vermaelen returned to the Arsenal side yesterday — his first appearance in seven months — and the Villa coach admitted that the Gunners back line looked off the pace at times.

“There was two of their back four that were a bit ring-rusty,” McAllister added.

“To come back at this level and think you can come in and be at the top does not happen. The pace of the game is very difficult — you need games to get up to speed.”

McAllister reserved particular praise for England striker Bent who, he believes, has been an outstanding signing for the club since his move from Sunderland in January.

He added: “What a great signing. He’s been sensational since the first minute he arrived. He’s been class. He’s a proven goalscorer.

“The thing is he’s a guy who is in possession of the number nine shirt for his national team as well and today he was aided by two other England players — Downing and Young.

“The first half those three were electric and caused Arsenal’s back four all sorts of problems. Goal scorers need service and he’s got two people providing him with that.

“[Bent’s first goal] It was a great goal. He’s obviously falling back but still managed to control a little dink – great goal. The second goal was particularly pleasing because there was two quality passes, a lovely bit of a movement and the finish was there. Not bad.”


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