Aston Villa v Hereford reaction

Villa sealed a third-round place with two goals in the last ten

minutes from Eric Lichaj and Nathan Delfouneso. The former Scotland

manager admitted his side had made hard work of it. “It was a shame

we could not get an early goal,” he said. “We made a good start but

I was wondering whether the players were thinking seriously about

the approach to the game when they were playing a team from a lower

division. “I thought they went about their task really well. We

didn’t get a break though and I thought Hereford did their manager

proud. “They played very well and were excellent. They kept in the

game and gained in confidence and I always worried about a defender

making a mistake and opening the back door. “They didn’t really

trouble us too much but the professionalism in the team is

brilliant and exemplified by the captain, Richard Dunne. “He was

outstanding against Hereford and showed he has the same attitude

whether it is Manchester United or Hereford United.” McLeish

declined to criticise the home fans, who had voiced their

frustrations prior to the final 10 minutes. He said: “The crowd’s

frustration is understandable. You expect the crowd to be

disgruntled because they were expecting us to bang in the goals.

“They were very patient but at the same time we have to take it on

the chin if we are not producing the goods. We have to handle that

situation.” McLeish, who guided Birmingham City to their Carling

Cup success over Arsenal at Wembley in February, also admitted that

it was always his intention to take off England striker Darren

Bent. McLeish wanted Bent to play only the first half but the lack

of goals forced him to keep on his talented striker until he was

replaced by Andreas Weimann. He said: “I thought Bent was devoid of

a service in the first half and I suppose it was a brave move to

take him off when the game was still goalless.” Villa made hard

work of beating a side which has only won one of its six games this

season when they were defied for long spells by Hereford’s on loan

goalkeeper, David Cornell, who was making only his second

appearance for the club. The on-loan Swansea goalkeeper later

earned rich praise from Hereford manager Jamie Pitman. The Bulls

boss said: “Cornell was fantastic on a stage he wants to perform on

in the future. “He is a Welsh under-21 international and has a

great future. He has come for a month’s loan to replace Adam

Bartlett. I am delighted to have him in the side.” Pitman feels the

performance against Villa will give his side a big boost. He added:

“It was a lift we needed. We have lacked a bit of confidence after

being thumped a couple of times. “I have an inner belief that they

are able to compete at a good level and they are actually a better

team than last season. The performance against Villa can only give

them confidence. “We frustrated Villa for long periods and after 75

minutes I was wondering, ‘Is it our day?’ “If we could have held

out for another ten minutes we might have got something out of the

game.”