Houllier praises battling Villa

BY foxsports • April 3, 2011

Everton's Leighton Baines struck a late penalty to secure a draw at Goodison Park on Saturday after a Darren Bent double looked to have put troubled Villa on course for three valuable Premier League points. Villa fought back well after a sluggish first half in which Leon Osman opened the scoring after 38 minutes and the visitors felt the 82nd-minute penalty award against Jean Makoun was harsh. Yet the hosts could also feel aggrieved after a Jermaine Beckford shot bounced close to the line after hitting the crossbar just seconds before Bent grabbed his second. Houllier, whose side are just two points above the bottom three, said: "It is always difficult to get a point at Everton, it is not an easy place to play. "I felt we fought hard enough to get the three points because we came back after making a mistake in the first half. We showed more competitiveness. "I am disappointed with the result because there were eight minutes left when we conceded the penalty. "But taking into account that morale and confidence is not at its highest, the fact we came back in the second half and won it 2-1, that is what we have to take. "I would say it is two points lost because we were in a winning position in the game but in terms of attitude, it was a hard-fought point and we deserved that, minimum." Houllier refused to give his opinions on the two controversial moments, claiming that he had not properly seen either Beckford's shot or the penalty incident. Some replays of Beckford's effort were inconclusive but one angle appeared to show the ball across the line. "That is one about technology," Houllier said. "The great debate will come back again." Referee Mike Jones gave Everton their chance to equalise when he adjudged Makoun to have tripped Phil Jagielka. Houllier said: "It happened in the box. The players thought it was a bit soft but I didn't see what happened." Everton boss David Moyes was more forthright on the matter of Beckford's 'goal', but blamed his players for losing concentration to concede in the proceeding moments. Moyes said: "The angle the ball came back off the bar made me think it must be close. "It is a hard call for the referee and the linesman but I thought they would have picked up on the angle of the ball coming off the crossbar. "It was a double whammy because within 10 seconds were 2-1 down - but that was down to us, not the referee. "It was a poor decision - that is why we have been championing for goalline technology." Moyes was nevertheless proud of his players having been without the services of a number of star names. Tim Cahill and Jack Rodwell failed to prove their fitness, joining Marouane Fellaini, Louis Saha and Mikel Arteta on the sidelines, and Seamus Coleman was not 100% fit. Not one of Moyes' seven substitutes had featured for a single minute in the Premier League before. Moyes said: "With the team we had out today against a side like that - I know they are near the bottom but they have got three England internationals - the way we played, the chances we missed, we were unlucky not to win the game. "I don't think in my time I've ever been so low on numbers. "I have seen the penalty again and I thought it was penalty. I think he just catches him. "But maybe the ref had a bit of doubt from the shot that might have gone in from the underside of the bar."


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