Aston Villa aided by rise of ‘good as gold’ Alan Hutton
Manager Paul Lambert hailed comeback king Alan Hutton after the defender’s revival at Aston Villa.
The right-back scored his first Villa goal and the winner in the 2-1 victory over 10-man Leicester City on Sunday.
It capped a turnaround for the Scotland international after he failed to play a single minute under Lambert before this season.
Hutton was frozen out for almost two years at Villa but was recalled in the summer and has been one of their stand-out performers this term.
And, after his strike lifted Villa to 11th in the Premier League, Lambert insisted the 30-year-old is back on merit.
“Hutton is playing as well as any right-back in the country,” said Lambert.
“I hope it’s not such a long wait again (for a goal). He never asked to go away – and I always had a good relationship with him.
“He was as good as gold and so easy to deal with. I’m delighted for him. He’s got nothing to prove and doesn’t need to make up for lost time.”
Villa are now unbeaten in five games, having won their last two, ahead of Saturday’s trip to local rivals West Brom.
“I’m delighted with the win and delighted with how we did it,” said Lambert after Villa’s first home win since August. “It’s a massive three points for us and we’re in a bit of form at the minute.
“We’re playing well and we worked on something the other day, a different way of playing, and the lads took to it well.
“We should have had more and (Kasper) Schmeichel made some unbelievable saves.”
But Ashley Westwood was carried off on a stretcher for Villa in the first half after a challenge from Jamie Vardy and will have a scan on Monday.
“For Westy to go down and stay down you know something is there,” said Lambert.
“I just think because it’s Westy if he goes down you know something’s wrong with him.”
Leicester have now failed to win in 10 games and have lost their last three, despite taking the lead through Leonardo Ulloa.
Ciaran Clark cancelled out his opener and Leicester also had Paul Konchesky sent off with 10 minutes left after a clash with Hutton.
Manager Nigel Pearson feels Konchesky’s red is unlikely to be rescinded and insisted they will fight on after staying bottom of the table.
He said: “We will continue to look for the answer. It’s easy to give a flowery answer and say the right thing.
“The bottom line is to keep exploring different ways to get through.
“This group of players experienced a really tough run in 2012 from mid-January for couple of months so we have some experience in dealing with setbacks.
“At the moment it’s hard for the players because they continue to be punished for errors which they’d get away with at other levels, but certainly not at this level.
“We must remain resolute to get through it.”
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Published: December 8, 2014 04:00 AM