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Posted on 24 January 2006  - 12:00

Chris Hughton takes a look back at our weekend stalemate against Aston Villa at the Lane...

Chris Hughton takes a look back at our weekend stalemate against Aston Villa at the Lane...

THE STRANGE THING is, as coaches, once you get to the 70-75 minute point - unfortunately, even though if one side was going to win the game it was going to be us - at the back of your mind you are wary of the fact you are pushing bodies forward and there is the danger of getting caught on the counter attack.

So there is a fairly large part of you that says the main priority is to make sure you don't lose, as opposed to throwing everybody forward to try and win the game. We have lost game like that in the past in you are always mindful of it when your full-backs are pushing forward with the possibility of getting caught.

We worked very, very hard to get the win against Aston Villa though and you certainly couldn't fault the efforts of the players.

Villa did get numbers behind the ball and you cannot always be sure what approach the opposition will take in a game. We knew they would play 4-4-2, more or less knew what side they would field and pretty much knew the way they would set their stall out. It is normal when playing away from home and the priority is not to get beaten - for that to happen you have to get bodies behind the ball and play with some discipline.

It is exactly what they did do, but Villa do have good offensive players.

We were quite sure it would be a tight game, while knowing they had the quality to attempt to win the game.

If you were to ask whether you would want teams to come to the Lane with a little bit more of a defensive approach, or have a team come with all guns blazing, so to speak, you would prefer the defensive side. This allows you to have more possession and, generally when you have that, you are able to build up confidence and a head of steam.

It is then down to the norm, winning football matches is about quality and we like to think - certainly at home with our crowd - we have shown in most of our games enough quality on the park to be able to break teams down and win games.

Against Villa we didn't have that finishing touch or that little bit of fortune in and around the area. I've got no doubts, if we had scored one we would have gone on to score two or three.