Gerard Houllier 'relief' after Villa win over West Brom
Houllier 'relieved' to win
Gerard Houllier confessed to overriding relief after Aston Villa halted a run of three Premier League losses with a battling derby victory over West Brom.
Villa's sorry 3-0 defeat at Houllier's former club Liverpool had raised questions, but the French boss felt his players responded well to adversity.
"I was pleased with the attitude. When you go through a bad patch, you need to keep cool and more focused," he said.
"The feeling is one of relief. I was proud of the response of the players."
Goals in each half from Stewart Downing and the fit-again Emile Heskey, both from Marc Albrighton crosses, ensured that Paul Scharner's late header counted for nothing as the impressive visitors pushed the hosts hard at Villa Park.
Former Liverpool boss Houllier added: "West Brom are a good team. They won at Arsenal and Everton, and drew at Manchester United, and came here full of confidence.
"The defeat at Liverpool hurt us, more with the way it happened.
"We needed to sort out a few things. We were a bit shaky at times which is normal when you are having a bad run.
Houllier decided to leave out acting skipper and central defender Richard Dunne but his replacement, Carlos Cuellar, formed a solid partnership with James Collins.
"Our job as managers is to make decisions," he said. "Cuellar played extremely well. He was strong and solid."
We deserved more - Di Matteo
Baggies boss Roberto Di Matteo was left to reflect on his side failing to cash in on dominating the opening 45 minutes, with Albion missing the cutting edge of leading scorer Peter Odemwingie through injury.
"We deserved at least a point from the game," he said.
"They scored two goals, had one more shot, and not much more in terms of chances. We started the game very well and put them under pressure. We had a lot of possession and hit the woodwork but could not take advantage of things.
"The second half was more difficult because they defended well and were dangerous on the counter-attack as well.
"We still believed we could get something out of the game but it was not to be."
Di Matteo is hopeful six-goal Odemwingie will be fit for next weekend's derby meeting with Wolves.
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