MacDonald takes Villa into fourth but fails to fit the job description

Aston Villa 1 Everton 0

Aston Villa last night revealed their criteria for appointing a manager in succession to Martin O'Neill – and they appear to rule out Kevin McDonald despite the caretaker manager presiding over a second win in three Premier League matches yesterday.

MacDonald, whose side overcame Everton thanks to a rare Luke Young goal, had talked afterwards about remaining "undecided" over whether he wanted to be considered for the post. Villa's American chairman-owner, Randy Lerner, had suggested they discuss the matter today, but within 90 minutes of the final whistle Villa issued a statement which implied they were looking outside the club.

Signed by Paul Faulkner, the chief executive, the statement said: "Two traits we believe are of crucial importance are that candidates have experience of managing in the Premier League and a strategy for building on existing strengths in our current squad. We have thoroughly researched potential candidates and reached out to a variety of contacts within the game for advice and guidance, as well as keeping key staff informed and focused.

"We will now start the process of interviewing candidates with a view to an appointment in the near future. Kevin MacDonald will continue as caretaker manager until that time. Finally, we wish to make clear that our relative inactivity in the transfer market this window in no way reflects a change in direction or dilution of ambition, rather our reluctance to make decisions on players without a permanent manager in place."

Since MacDonald's experience of top-flight management amounts to two three-game spells, with Leicester in 1994 and Villa, it seems likely the choice the 49-year-old Scot has found so tortuous has been made for him. Yet if this was the reserve-team coach's swansong, he bowed out with the club sitting fourth in the table.

The game was watched by the England manager, Fabio Capello, who would normally have been delighted to see a consummate finish by an Englishman decide a contest. Unfortunately for the Italian, the scorer, in the early stages, was a right-back who announced his retirement from a seven-cap England career last year. Luke Young's moment of catharsis, after long periods out of favour with O'Neill and a summer in which he was almost sold to Liverpool, arrived after Marouane Fellaini lost possession. Ashley Young caressed a pass into his namesake's galloping stride and a curling left-footed shot from 12 yards beat Tim Howard.

David Moyes was exasperated after his team's record at Villa Park was extended to 23 games with one victory. They are without a win in three matches, their worst start since 1999. "From the first minute to the last we were in control," the Everton manager said. "We have to give Villa credit for the way they defended but we just can't get the ball in the net."

For Capello, there was much to ponder. Marc Albrighton, 20, filling Ashley Young's right-wing slot, demonstrated an ability to flash past defenders and voracious work rate. Everton's Jack Rodwell, 19 and occupying the same position, is a more solid performer but came off with a swollen foot, while Phil Jagielka suffered an ankle injury. Mikel Arteta, the Spanish playmaker who is eligible to represent England, showed an impressive passing range and repertoire of set pieces.

Everton dominated to an almost embarrassing extent. Arteta forced the first of several flying saves from Brad Friedel with a long-range free-kick, though the American was helpless in the 18th minute when Steven Pienaar's angled shot smacked the bar. Villa drew a fine double save on the hour from Howard who denied John Carew and Ashley Young. By then, Moyes had sent on Louis Saha for the ineffectual Jermaine Beckford. Saha soon tested Friedel and Rodwell's back-header drifted inches wide.

Villa fashioned a chance to put the outcome beyond reasonable doubt after Howard parried Ashley Young's shot to Albrighton, only for MacDonald's protégé to fire wildly over. Friedel's fingertip save from Saha in stoppage time ensured the miss will not come back to haunt him.



Match facts

Aston Villa 4-4-1-1: Friedel; L Young, Collins, Dunne, Warnock; Albrighton, Reo-Coker, Petrov, Downing; A Young; Carew (Agbonlahor, 68). Substitutes not used Guzan (gk), Heskey, Cuellar, Lichaj, Bannan, Delfouneso.

Booked Collins, Dunne, Albrighton, Petrov.

Everton 4-4-1-1: Howard; Hibbert (Heitinga, 81), Jagielka, Distin, Baines; Rodwell (Coleman, 70), Arteta, Fellaini, Pienaar; Cahill; Beckford (Saha, 56). Substitutes not used Mucha (gk), Bilyaletdinov, Gueye, Osman.

Man of the match Friedel.

Referee M Jones (Chester)

Attendance 34,725.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy
UK heatwave: Temperature reaches 39.8 degrees on Central Line - the sweatiest place in London

39.8 degrees recorded on Tube

There's hot (London) and too damn hot (the Underground). Simon Usborne braved the Central line to discover what its passengers suffer
Kitchens go hi-tech: From robot chefs to recipe-shopping apps, computerised cooking is coming

Computerised cooking is coming

From apps that automatically make shopping lists from your recipe books to smart ovens and robot chefs, Kevin Maney rounds up innovations to make your mouth water
Jessie Cave interview: The Harry Potter star has published a feminist collection of cartoons

Jessie Cave's feminist cartoons

The Harry Potter star tells Alice Jones how a one-night stand changed her life
Football Beyond Borders: Even the most distruptive pupils score at homework club

Education: Football Beyond Borders

Add football to an after-school homework club, and even the naughtiest boys can score
10 best barbecue books

Fire up the barbie: 10 best barbecue books

We've got Bibles to get you grilling and smoking like a true south American pro
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

Junk balls and chop and slice are only way 5ft 1in Kurumi Nara can live with Petra Kvitova’s power
Ron Dennis exclusive: ‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

‘This is one of the best McLaren teams ever – we are going to do it’

Ron Dennis shrugs off a poor start to the season in an exclusive interview, and says the glory days will come back
Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her