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Juande: First goal hurt us

Posted on 16 September 2008  - 12:00

Juande Ramos felt going behind played perfectly into Villa's hands as we tried to get back into the game on Monday night.

Juande: First goal hurt us

Juande Ramos felt going behind played perfectly into Villa's hands as we tried to get back into the game on Monday night.

The visitors grabbed that all-important first goal via Nigel Reo-Coker's calm finish with only five minutes on the clock at the Lane.

That goal appeared to hit us hard as Villa then dominated the opening exchanges and we had Heurelho Gomes to thank for keeping the scoreline down to 1-0 at the interval. We also lost Luka Modric to a knee injury.

Chances were few and far between for new signing Roman Pavlyuchenko - debuting alongside defender Vedran Corluka - and the situation worsened 10 minutes into the second half when Ashley Young's 25-yard effort crept under the body of Gomes and nestled into the corner. It was an ideal scenario for Martin O'Neill's men as they were able to defend deep and break quickly with the pace of Young and Gabriel Agbonlahor.

We still enjoyed the lion's share possession but couldn't find a way past the Villa defence until a Jermaine Jenas volley clipped off Darren Bent and home to give us a lifeline with three minutes left - unfortunately it wasn't to be.

"That first goal changed everything," reflected Juande at the Lane. "It laid the game out for them.

"The team went out there convinced they were going to win but such an early goal made it difficult for us.

"We tried to come back at them but we had to take risks and that gave them more opportunities. They were coming at us with counter-attacks, but we had to take those risks.

Villa home

"We tried to turn it around but it wasn't to be. We just didn't find the spark we needed."

Juande refused to lay the blame on Gomes after his mistake for the second goal. "We're all responsible for these results - the team on the pitch and the people on the bench. Victory is won by everyone, defeat the same. You have to share out the blame.

"On other occasions Gomes stopped Villa scoring goals and I think he was magnificent apart from the goal."