Saturday 20 January 2018

Stoke dent Villa hopes


Carl Markham

Aston Villa manager Martin O'Neill admitted his side did not do enough to warrant victory against Stoke at a windy Britannia Stadium.

In a match of few opportunities, Stewart Downing's shot which inadvertently deflected off Villa team-mate John Carew but hit the side-netting with goalkeeper Thomas Sorensen wrong-footed, and Stoke defender Robert Huth's late header over the top were probably the best for both sides. A point each was really all they deserved, which was more helpful in solidifying Stoke's mid-table position than it was for Villa's top-four aspirations.

"We would love to have won but it was never going to be easy," said O'Neill. "Stoke are always very difficult, so maybe it was a reasonable outcome. There weren't many chances in the game and the wind didn't help matters. It was a tough afternoon and we defended very stoutly indeed and the game didn't have that many clear-cut chances.''

Stoke have lost just once at home since the turn of the year -- to Arsenal -- and have had only two defeats at the Britannia since September 26.

Potters boss Tony Pulis praised his side for their work-rate after a third match in a week. "It was a very windy day and I thought the teams were very honest and committed," he said.

Sunday Independent

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