Villa boss McLeish rues Sunderland draw

Richard Dunne and James Collins
Richard Dunne and James Collins
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ASTON Villa left the Stadium of Light with one point safely stowed away on Saturday, but manager Alex McLeish felt it should have been all three.

Villa have now dropped nine points from winning positions this season – by some distance more than any other Premier League side – and the Scot admits he’s tiring of seeing good leads lost.

So, for him, the 2-2 draw with Sunderland game represented an opportunity lost, just as much as an away point gained.

“We’ve taken away something from the game after what was a very controlled performance on our part,” he said.

“Sunderland were always going to have their moments on their home ground, but we passed it well and looked dangerous, so to lose the lead so late makes it all the more disappointing.

“It feels like we’ve dropped two points, but there’s nothing we can do about that, we can’t get them back so we have to move on.

“We’re aware that we keep dropping points from winning positions and that’s something we need to tackle.

“We need to see games out because these are valuable potential points we’re missing out on and Sunderland was a classic example of that.

“When you’re just half-a-dozen minutes away from all three points, you’re always disappointed if you don’t grind the victory out.”

The visitors might have made sure of the win had Darren Bent been able to steer a great second-half chance home.

But the ex-Sunderland favourite – booed mercilessly on his return to his old club – could not squeeze his shot home.

“Darren worked extremely hard for the team and might have scored but Keiren Westwood’s big toe saved the day,” sighed McLeish.

“Darren’s big enough to take the stick he got on the chin.

“He’ll look back on that chance and analyse it as all good players do and probably feel he might have done better.

“But he showed great movement and opportunism with his exchange of passes with Gabby Agbonlahor to get into that position in the first place.”