Bent: Villa are up for the fight

BY foxsports • April 3, 2011

And the in-form England forward believes those qualities were on display even though they failed to hold on for victory in an eventful Premier League contest at Everton on Saturday. Villa have slipped back into the relegation battle in the past month with a run of poor form coming amid reports of dressing room unrest and dissatisfaction with under-pressure manager Gerard Houllier. The crisis looked like deepening as Leon Osman punished Villa for a sluggish start at Goodison Park by putting Everton ahead but Bent turned the match with a second-half double. It did not prove enough for victory as Leighton Baines equalised with a late penalty but £24million man Bent is convinced it was a step in the right direction after successive defeats. The 27-year-old said: "It was a good result. "It was a disappointment after how hard we worked in the second half, coming out of the blocks as fast as we did. "But the main thing is we picked up a point and we will kick on. "It didn't look like a penalty and we are disappointed with that but it is part of football and you have to deal with it. "We believe in our ability and if we keep playing well and showing the kind of performance we did in the second half, I am sure we will be fine." Bent's two goals took his tally for the club since his high-profile move from Sunderland in January to five and maintained his form after scoring for England last week. The former Tottenham striker hit the second in England's 2-0 Euro 2012 qualifying win in Wales, his third for his country in three appearances. His output is likely to be crucial for Villa, who remain just three points above bottom side Wigan, in their remaining seven games but he is not interested in personal accolades. He said: "It was a good game in Cardiff and this was a good performance in the second half but it was unfortunate for us we couldn't get all three points. "It is not really about me being the star. It is about us being a team, picking up the points and trying to move up the league." Despite Villa's confidence, their predicament might have been worse if Everton striker Jermaine Beckford had been awarded a goal just moments before Bent's second in the 68th minute. In the game's main talking point, Beckford crashed a shot against the bar which bounced down close to the line and away. Replays were not 100% conclusive but did appear to suggest the ball had crossed the line and Everton had a right to feel aggrieved. Villa played on and seconds later were 2-1 ahead, leaving Everton dependent on the 83rd-minute penalty awarded after Jean Makoun was adjudged to have fouled Phil Jagielka. Goalscorer Baines said: "It was probably quite a tough call for the linesman given the speed we were attacking at and the speed the ball was travelling. "It may have just crossed the line but I don't know how conclusive the replays have been. "In the few seconds afterwards we were looking around hoping the referee was going to signal and give a goal and they went up the other end to add to the disappointment and get one themselves." Injury-hit Everton could still feel satisfied with the point having named a seven-man bench with not a minute's Premier League experience between them. The Toffees are now unbeaten in five league games and looking to finish the season strongly. Baines said: "Both sides won't feel too disheartened by the point. "We have got quite a lot of players out at the moment and had pretty much everyone we had out on the pitch. "We have got to pull together, work hard and look after each other. "We have always had a small squad. This is what we have to work with and we are trying to do the best we can." Baines fired home his penalty clinically, the spot-kick having been the first Everton had been awarded all season. "I wanted to hit it low and hard," said the left-back. "I don't think it was too far away from the goalkeeper's legs but it doesn't matter as long as it goes in."


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