Take the positives: Aston Villa lose at Spurs, but that's okay

It is easy to get angry when we lose and very easy to get overly optimistic when we win. However, this season is going to be a turbulent one with a massive learning curve attached to it for everyone at the club and we really shouldn't expect anything other than what we probably expected before the season started.

I predicted seventh but wouldn't really be surprised with eighth. Based on the football match on Saturday, I still see us finishing like that and all things considered, it isn't a bad place to be and actually, for a manager in his first season, nobody can set unrealistic expectations. If we were Liverpool fans, we'd just be wanting to stay up, so like I said, all things considered, what would you rather?

The Match

A game of two halves. Do I have to write anything else? Okay, I could write that they had something special in the side and when we lost Heskey (can't believe I am writing this) and Carew came on, it was almost as if we lose a player.

For the industry of Webcam, Downing and Albrighton, with Carew up front it just didn't look balanced or right and at one stage, Petrov was shouting at Carew to come back and help out.

When Heskey went off, things changed and they came into the game more in the second half, but there were signs of things getting better and that was nice to see. I was fed up with the one dimensional, long ball football and the manager not speaking to players and I think those days are over.

The Papers

David Lacey, guardian.co.uk
Monsieur Houllier's holiday at Aston Villa was shortlived. The win at Wolves, and the exceptional header from Emile Heskey that achieved it, promised more of the same at White Hart Lane and when the rejuvenated Emile Heskey sprinted to the byline to dispossess Sébastien Bassong before setting up a tap-in at the far post for Marc Albrighton after 16 minutes Villa appeared the more likely winners. Then Heskey limped off 10 minutes before half-time with a dead leg leaving Houllier to observe diplomatically that the replacement, John Carew, "did a good job but it's not the same player".

All the papers say the same. It was said after the game by everyone also, it is nothing to get worried about and it is part of a process.

The Manager

Gerard Houllier
I was pleased with the performance and proud of the efforts of my players. They played with a lot of discipline and team spirit. They also played Tottenham off the park at times too. Don't forget this is against a team who play in the Champions League.

All I can say is the performance was good and I told my players if they repeat that sort of game, we will win more than we lose. Overall we didn't deserve to lose. I think funnily enough that was the best of the three games I have been in charge of. To me it was a very good game of football, very entertaining, very exciting. At times we were forgetting we were away from home because we held the ball well, worked for each other and made good moves.

The bottom line

Fantastic to see Marc Albrighton get a goal. Good to see Ashley Young whip in a free kick that didn't go wildly over. Not so nice to see Cuellar dropped but I can understand why; the manager needs more time with all the players and he is going with stability first.

It was also quite interesting to see Nigel Reo-Coker boss the central midfield position. Jenas was nothing on Saturday and that is mostly down to Reo-Coker and probably why he was awarded the man of the match by visitors to this site, with just over 40% of the vote. Despite the loss, lots of positives and things look like they are getting better.

Need some statistics? Let me know if you do, but when I see good things happening, I don't need numbers to prove it to myself.