Not a right royal show for William

01 December 2013 07:31

Paul Lambert admitted the Duke of Cambridge was unlikely to relive the highlights of Aston Villa's lacklustre goalless draw at home to Sunderland on Match of the Day.

Villa supporter Prince William, donning a club scarf and coat, watched on at Villa Park from owner Randy Lerner's executive box but not even a touch of royalty could inspire the hosts and light up a dour Barclays Premier League clash.

Indeed it was Sunderland who came closest to all three points as they chased their first away win of the season, although they do return to the north east with a first point on their travels since the end of August.

Recalled striker Fabio Borini saw his glancing second-half header rebounded off the crossbar, while Emanuele Giaccherini contributed a worthy contender for miss of the season from a mere four yards just before half-time.

But that was about as good as it got for the majority of the 33,036 present.

"I don't think he'll watch Match of the Day," joked Lambert, who revealed he had not met the heir to the throne.

"It's great, it's the first time since I've been manager here that he's been here, which is a great thing. But it probably wasn't an ideal game for him to come and watch."

The hosts, who also boast prime minister David Cameron and actor Tom Hanks among their celebrity fans, were looking for their first home back-to-back league victories since August 2010.

And Sunderland boss Gus Poyet hopes he has not disappointed Prince William.

"Is he not happy with me?," quipped the Uruguayan.

"He might have been thinking we're going to beat Sunderland because they are bottom and he didn't. So he might think 'look at this lot, they can play a little bit'."

Villa failed to provide much in the way of an attacking threat and star striker Christian Benteke, now without a goal in seven appearances, was largely anonymous in attack before being substituted prior to full-time, to a murmur of ironic cheers from the home faithful.

"I don't think we deserved to win the game, I don't think we deserved to lose it," Lambert added.

"But it's another clean sheet, looking on the positive side, and it's the same number already that we had throughout the whole of last year.

"We didn't do enough to win, although I didn't think we were going to lose."

Sunderland could take plenty of positives from the encounter, however, there were reports of a bust-up during the pre-match warm-up between defenders Andrea Dossena and Phil Bardsley, who allegedly kicked out at each other.

Commenting on the incident, Poyet said: "I didn't see it.

"(But) I like that, if it doesn't go into personal, I like a bit of tension in the team, it's nice, especially when we are down at the bottom. You need a little bit of tension, discussion and characters."

In stark contrast to the Black Cats' recent home form since taking charge, Poyet had overseen three away defeats which contained three red cards and three own goals prior to the trip to the midlands.

But the point against Villa has taken his side off the foot of the table.

And he was quick to salute his side's display.

"This was without any doubt our best performance away from home," he added.

"We made it difficult for Villa, we were brave on the ball, we created two or three chances. For a team at the bottom, playing away from home at Villa Park, I don't think it's too bad.

"We would have liked three points but I want that team on the pitch every week. And if we play like that we'll win plenty of games."

Source: PA