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McLeish happy with effort but frustrated not to make breakthrough
Alex McLeish offers his verdict.
27th Aug 2011
McLeish happy with effort but frustrated not to make breakthrough


By Paul Brown at Villa Park

Alex McLeish was left frustrated that Villa couldn't convert their chances in the derby with Wolves - although the boss was happy with the way his team controlled the game for long periods.

Villa drew 0-0 with Wolves in the early afternoon fixture, with the claret and blue troops carving out the majority of the opportunities during the 90 minutes.

McLeish was pleased with the way his team lifted the tempo after the break - although he wished one of their efforts had found the target.

He thought Mick McCarthy's decision to replace attacking aces Stephen Hunt and Matt Jarvis with defensively-minded George Elokobi and Kevin Foley just after the hour mark was evidence of the dominance Villa were enjoying.

He said: "We didn't get the breakthrough so we didn't do enough but I thought it was a terrific second half display, we controlled it.

"I thought Mick's changes took the sting out of it. I believe some of our players also began to tire, such was the effort they put in.

"The second half was much quicker. We upped the tempo.

"I wasn't too dissatisfied with the first half. We had some good chances before the break.

"Stan got in behind the defence and a better ball across results in a tap-in. These are fantastic opportunities at this level. Sometimes you don't get too many.

"Stan had a shot from the edge of the box where everything opened up for him. If I remember his Celtic days that was normally an easy goal for him.

"We had a few opportunities second half. We snatched at a few shooting opportunities, there were a few headers and then Wolves came back into it over the last 10 minutes and forced a couple of corners.

"That's when they can hurt teams because they have good presence in the team.

"We do like to win our home games. But as I said to the players - if you can't win the game, don't lose it."

McLeish was happy with the performance of his back five - and also picked out young versatile ace Chris Herd after an all-action display at right-back.

Herd was voted man-of-the-match by the sponsors after a game in which he smashed his head into the post, smashed a header over the bar and then saw another bullet effort brilliantly saved by Wolves stopper Wayne Hennessey.

McLeish was impressed with what he saw.

He added: "Credit to the back five - they were resolute and they were vigilant in the final 10 minutes when it could have been so easy to switch off and be frustrated.

"But they showed fantastic concentration and mental toughness.

"Herdy had a really good game. He was great. He was getting up the line, he had headers in the box at set-pieces and he can look in the mirror and say he gave it absolutely everything.

"He can be proud of his performance.

"We are a little bit short on experienced players with Luke Young leaving. But again it's another great performance from a kid from the academy and credit goes to the academy guys."

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