Lambert lauds "world class" Lowton strike

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert hailed Matt Lowton's stunning strike as "world class" after his side's vital 3-1 win at Stoke.

Matt Lowton

Lowton hit an unstoppable long-range volley three minutes from time at the Britannia Stadium to put relegation-threatened Villa back ahead in a tense Barclays Premier League encounter.

Michael Kightly had cancelled out Gabriel Agbonlahor's early goal just minutes earlier but Lowton's effort was followed by a late Christian Benteke goal as Villa claimed a deserved 3-1 success.

The result was greeted by huge relief by Villa, who began the game in the bottom three, but it also pulled Stoke into the scrap after a run of one win in 13 games.

Lambert said: "I thought we were the better team throughout the game. I thought we were absolutely brilliant right from the off."

"We looked a threat the whole game. There were some colossal performances out there. I am proud of the lads.

"After going to 1-1 we still kept on going. The second goal - I don't think you'll see a better goal in Europe, let alone Britain. The technique and the actual finish were just world class."

Villa have spent most of the season fighting at the bottom end of the table and, along with the likes of Southampton and Wigan, have found some form at the right time.

With four wins in seven, Lambert's men have momentum and the Scot believes they are good enough to maintain it.

Lambert said: "We are playing really well at the minute. There is a lot of confidence about the team."

"The crowd are right with us - they were outstanding today [Saturday]. They knew they played well for long spells in the Liverpool game so that (defeat) never really fazed us.

"The confidence was still intact from the previous two games. Coming here, you know it will be really tough and to do what we have done is excellent."

The mood at Stoke was markedly different with the feeling a crisis was growing around the Potters.

Tony Pulis' side may have been in a respectable-looking 13th place ahead of the game but the loss left them just point above Villa.Their goal was only their second in six games, boos were often heard from the crowd and pressure is growing on Pulis.

Pulis said: "I think when things go against you they go against you and at the moment things are going against us."

"In life when things are going well and everyone is happy it all rolls and doesn't take any character to roll with the good times. When the bad times come you have got to show your character and that is what we have got to do as a group - everyone at the football club.

"Everyone has got to stick together and make sure we get the six points to stay up."

Pulis accepted Villa had been the better side for long spells but felt his team were unfortunate.

He said: "We could easily have had two penalties. The first one hits (Nathan) Baker - his hand is away from his body and it stops the flight of the ball going into the box."

"The second one (Ron) Vlaar gets a touch and stops Kenwyne (Jones) going through and having a shot in the box. When we scored it gave everyone a lift and we thought maybe we could go and win the game.

"But then Lowton smashes one in and the third goal is us getting caught on the break."

Pulis brushed off suggestions he could be fighting for his job.

He said: "That is up to (chairman) Peter and the Coates family. I have always given my best for the club and always will."

"Hopefully, fingers crossed, we will get enough points to stay in the Premier League. We want 40 points. That is all we want and nobody has every heard me say we want this, that or the other.

"The first target is 40 points and I never get blase about it. Other people might, but I don't."

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