Aston Villa assistant manager Gary McAllister called on his players to continue their march up the table after a 1-1 draw against Stoke City.A Darren Bent equaliser cancelled out Kenwyne Jones’ opening goal to see the spoils shared in the English Premier League match at Villa Park.
Villa, unbeaten in their last four matches, have climbed to 11th in the table.
And McAllister – standing in for hospitalised manager Gerard Houllier – believes the team can now aim to catch Bolton Wanderers in eighth position.
“We are on a good run at the moment so the place is buzzing,” McAllister said.
“We need points to catch Bolton. Two or three weeks ago we would have been looking the other way.”
“We want to keep the run going. Four games unbeaten. Since we lost to Sunderland here in January, we’ve not done bad.”
McAllister was a Liverpool player in 2001 when Frenchman Houllier underwent a life-saving heart operation and was absent from the dugout for five months.
The Scottish coach revealed that his colleague was recovering well and is not expected to undergo surgery again.
“I spoke to him before the kick-off and his main concern as always was the players,” McAllister said.
“He wants them to do well. I’m going to go up to the hospital now.”
“All the signs are encouraging. He has got a bit of colour in his cheeks and he doesn’t look like a guy who has had a tough couple of days.”
“We will be guided by the specialists. It won’t be Gerard or Aston Villa’s decision when he comes back. There is no surgery this time. It will be rest and medicine.”
Stoke manager Tony Pulis believes his players – who defeated Bolton Wanderers last weekend in the last four of the FA Cup – may have been distracted by thoughts of the final.
“There is a danger you think of Wembley before it comes along and then players take their foot off the pedal,” Pulis said.
“We must not do it. The Premier League is still our main priority. We still need points.”