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Lambert laments missed opportunity

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has bemoaned his side’s inability to turn their superior possession into a win against Stoke on Saturday.

Villa have struggled for goals all season – registering just 12 in 16 Premier League games – and the Lambert, while delighted with the maturity of his young squad, believes his team should have made the breakthrough – most notably with a strong penalty appeal.

“I thought we dominated the game, I was delighted with the way that we dealt with Stoke’s strength,” Lambert said.

“I think we used our strength by trying the play football and we were excellent in certain parts of the game and in any other given day I think that we could have had one or two and I think we restricted Stoke to one real chance.

“I thought we could have got a penalty with Gabby (Agbonlahor) in the second half but I can’t fault any of them today.”

Villa fielded one of the youngest sides in Premier League history on Saturday and Lambert was delighted about how the team stood up to the pressures of the notoriously physical Potters.

“I thought some of the football we have been playing is very, very good and we could have got one or two. We just need that finishing touch that didn’t materialise,” he said.

“I thought we passed it really well and I thought (Ashley) Westwood was excellent, there was a lot of plusses out there which on another day could have seen us score one or two.”

Stoke have been in fine form of late, arriving at Villa Park having won three consecutive league games, and boss Tony Pulis was keen to praise the performance of their opponents after seeing his side’s threat nullified.

“When you look at the game and the three games prior and look at what Villa have done against some of the top teams at home they have done very, very well,” he said.

“They have lots of enthusiasm and they really do work for their manager so I knew we had to compete so two away games at West Brom and Villa and we have two clean sheets and four points, it’s a great tribute to the players.”

Villa had much the better chances, with Brad Guzan not being forced into a single save, but Pulis was delighted with the way his own defence helped Asmir Begovic to his seventh clean sheet in the league this season.

“I personally don’t think Asmir has had a save of note today and that is credit to the players in front of him,” he said.

“Ryan’s (Shawcross) block in the first half was outstanding.”

Sat 8 December, 2012
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