Paul Lambert was delighted after Aston Villa edged a tight encounter against West Ham to earn their first Premier League win since December.
Following an opening 45 minutes of little excitement, the Villans broke the deadlock midway through the second half through a Christian Benteke penalty before Charles N’Zogbia curled home a stunning free-kick to secure the 2-1 win.
Villa have conceded leads and last-gasp goals on a number of occasions this season, and Lambert was relieved at the three points despite Ashley Westwood’s own goal two minutes from time setting up a nervy final moments.
“That was a huge win, especially with yesterday’s results. We’ve been in positions we’re with been a couple of goals off, if we’d won them we’d be sitting comfortably in mid-table,” Lambert said.
“The players certainly deserve a lot of a credit for what they’ve done today. The defence was excellent, some of them have had long weeks away with international games they’ve had a tough week and I’m delighted for them.
“I think that will be huge for us, they players have took a lot of knocks this year, but football is funny, and we’re only three points behind Newcastle now.”
Meanwhile, West Ham boss Sam Allardyce bemoaned his side’s fortune in front of goal, but was quick to praise the efforts of opposition goalkeeper Brad Guzan who made a number of fine saves late on to preserve the points for Villa.
“We shouldn’t have even been in the position with the way we played in the second half to save it. We’ve put ourselves in that position and had a few good chances to save it, I have to say though it wasn’t poor finishing it was great goalkeeping from Guzan,” he said.
“We’ve created loads and loads of clear cut chances, we’ve done all we can try and win the game, but we’ve not been clinical enough to do that.
“We gifted them a soft penalty, we really shouldn’t be in a position for that to hurt us that much. The overall situation is, we’re disappointed we’ve lost and because of the way we’ve played. This league will punish you.”