Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert denies rift with Darren Bent
ASTON Villa manager Paul Lambert insists there is no fall-out with axed striker Darren Bent who came off the bench to score a "world-class" equaliser against West Brom at Villa Park.
Record signing Bent was left out of the starting line-up against Albion with Lambert using Gabriel Agbonlahor and Christian Benteke upfront.
But it was the arrival into the action of Bent midway through the second half which sparked a Villa revival before his 80th-minute close-range effort salvaged a point from a 1-1 draw.
The England striker admits it has been a difficult couple of weeks with losing his England spot plus the Villa captaincy to Ron Vlaar before yesterday's setback.
But, when asked if Bent was upset at being axed, Lambert said: "No, he was great. There was no problem. I just named the team and that's the team I picked."
He joked: "It was a world-class substitution. I need everyone, it's a collective thing, I never look at individuals. The goal was brilliant, it was a world-class finish.
"He was fine at full-time. I spoke to him in the dressing room as well. He was totally fine, totally, no problem, none."
Lambert added: "Everyone is as important as anyone else. I explained the captaincy thing was to do what he did there - to score. That's the only reason I did it.
"I need everyone. If we can keep the collective thing and have the crowd with us, we'll be fine."
Lambert was full of praise for the way his players responded to going behind to a Shane Long goal after playing 120 minutes against Manchester City in the Capital One Cup win in midweek.
He said: "The goalkeeper (Ben Foster) has made two world-class saves and when you go behind, especially in a derby, it puts you on the back foot.
"I thought the response was great, especially after playing 120 minutes on Tuesday. It was a big, big ask but the response was excellent."
Baggies boss Steve Clarke was disappointed to concede a late goal but hailed an outstanding performance from Foster.
The former Manchester United player bounced back from his poor showing against Liverpool in midweek with several fine saves.
Clarke said: "Having been in that position I'm a little bit disappointed we didn't go on and win it.
"But Ben Foster was excellent. I said the other night when he made the mistakes there was nothing to worry about - and he proved that today.
"He's a top goalkeeper and made one save in the first half off the deflected shot which was unbelievable.
"You need your goalkeeper to make saves in the Premier League to help you get the points. He's up there with the best of them."