DARREN Bent was “hurt” by the hostile reaction he got from Sunderland fans during Saturday’s return with Aston Villa.
Villa skipper Stiliyan Petrov told Midland’s daily newspaper the Express & Star that his team-mate did not think he would get such a negative welcome.
Bent was back at the Stadium of Light for the first time since his £24million switch in January said before the match that he still had respect for Sunderland fans.
But that did not prevent the 27-year-old striker from being loudly jeered by home supporters, who were particularly pleased when substitute goalkeeper Kieran Westwood denied him with a point-blank save.
Petrov said: “Was he hurt by it? Of course.
“He was surprised how loud the boos were.
“When you have a good time at a club and you come back to face a reception like that it is really painful, but I think he handled it well.”