Monday 01 October 2012

Lambert believes in Aston Villa striker Bent

Aston Villa manager stresses need for unity as he praises side's 1-1 draw with West Brom

Aston Villa's Darren Bent wheels away after scoring against West Brom at Villa Park

Manager Paul Lambert insists Darren Bent remains a crucial part of his plans after the striker he dropped for the West Midlands derby came off the bench to score Aston Villa's equaliser against West Bromwich Albion.

Lambert selected Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke as his forward pairing against West Brom, as Bent, who also lost the Villa captaincy recently, was relegated to the substitute's bench. But Lambert was keen to stress the importance of all the talent at his disposal.

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"Darren's a big part of [this squad] - everybody knows he's a goalscorer," said Lambert after the 1-1 draw at Villa Park. "I decided on the lads up front but I don't value anybody higher than anybody else. To do well we need everybody.

'World-class' Villa

"We played a world-class game in the first half and I thought we might even have gone a goal up before half-time, but I'm absolutely thrilled with their efforts. It was outstanding after playing 120 minutes the other night. They were excellent and kept on going.

"We played a world-class game in the first half and I thought we might even have gone a goal up before half-time, but I'm absolutely thrilled with their efforts"
Paul Lambert

"I thought we left ourselves a little bit open at times but I credit the team as they gave me absolutely everything. West Brom are a good side and they've started the season really well, but we're doing just fine at the moment."

Lambert added that he is aiming to bring a more expansive footballing style to the club he joined from Norwich City in the summer and hopes supporters will keep the faith in a team that lie 15th in the Barclays Premier League standings with five points from six matches

"We can only do our best and it will be at the end of the season when people can judge us,” he said. “It's a privilege to be the manager at this football club and all I can do is my best.

“We came in at a time when there's been hurt at the football club for a few years and I think people now come to watch.

Clarke satisfied despite late leveller

West Brom manager Steve Clarke, meanwhile admitted a degree of frustration at witnessing his side fail to hold on to the lead given to them by Shane Long on 51 minutes, but was satisfied, on the whole, by a draw against local rivals.

"I think it's a good result," said the Scot, whose side lie sixth in the Barclays Premier League with 11 points from six matches. "We came here expecting a difficult game and that's what we got.

"We're disappointed because we went ahead in the second half and controlled the game for a good spell. We then created a few half-chances for the second goal but we were pegged back and it finished 1-1.

"We're a little bit disappointed, the players are disappointed in the dressing room because we didn't get the three points. Overall I think we have to be happy with our efforts because, having been disrupted a little bit with injuries, the team performance was really good."

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To view Matchday Live photos and read the events as they unfolded at Villa Park click on the link below.

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Key Points

  • Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insists Darren Bent remains a 'big part' of his side's future
  • Bent responded to being dropped with equaliser in 1-1 draw against West Brom, who took the lead through Shane Long
  • View Matchday Live commentary and photos of today's match and read the full match report