Charles N'Zogbia final Aston Villa signing
Wednesday 27 July 2011
Boss Alex McLeish admitted it is unlikely he will add any new faces before the start of the season after seeing his Aston Villa side edge out Blackburn Rovers 1-0 to reach the final of the Barclays Asia Trophy.
Darren Bent scored the winner three minutes into the second half at Hong Kong Stadium with a trademark finish as he escaped the Rovers defence to convert Barry Bannan's cross.
With a deal for Charles N'Zogbia almost done, McLeish conceded the Frenchman's arrival will probably be the last before the end of the summer window.
"You can never say never but at the moment if we get N'Zogbia, which is looking good, then it's unlikely we will do anything unless there's more trading with the players we already have in the squad," he said.
"At the moment we don't plan to do any more business, I believe we've got some great young players and we've got one or two sleepers in there that could emerge.
"I know Ashley Young's boots are big ones to fill but there are one or two players that could emerge as a result of Ashley leaving the club."
Club owner Randy Lerner has one eye on UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations, which will be implemented based on clubs' financial results from the upcoming season and the 2012-13 campaign.
And McLeish acknowledged: "We're watching the wages don't spiral out of control. Even bringing in free transfers, everybody thinks they don't cost you anything but they could be 50-60 grand a week in wages and it just escalates the wage bill out of all proportion.
"Randy Lerner has already stated that he wants to keep it tighter and work within a means and that's normal, especially with 2013 coming up, and I believe a lot of clubs will follow suit.
"We have a good squad, I have to pay respect to the lads that are already there, they're on big wages and I can't just discard them."
The game itself proved a keenly-contested affair, with Bent's clinical finish ultimately the difference between the two sides.
"I said that before the game that because it was a Premier League game there was a little bit of an edge, a few meaty tackles but I was pleased with the performance of the lads in intense heat and humidity," said McLeish.
"I take a lot from that game in terms of seeing my players and creative moments like Barry's fantastic cross for Bent's winner and also some really solid defending, when we had to we were up to the mark."
The Scot deployed striker Gabriel Agbonlahor in a deeper role with Bent and Emile Heskey also in the line-up and was pleased with what he saw.
"I thought he did very well. He was a threat, got into some good positions and there's a lot of food for thought in that position," he said. "The reason we played that way was that Blackburn were loaded in midfield and we didn't want to get overpowered and Gabby did a good job.
"We'd like to think that we could play guys like Gabby and Benty, both England players, together every week but that won't happen, it'll be horses for courses. It's a long season and you can't always play 4-4-2."
For Blackburn boss Steve Kean, the encounter served to highlight his pressing need for a striker.
"I think when we analyse the game, we were quite happy with the way we played, we worked the ball into the box," he said.
"We just maybe lacked a cutting edge a little bit but I thought up until the top end of the pitch, everything else clicked.
"Jason Roberts worked very hard and it was great for (Mauro) Formica to come in and play alongside him and Shay Given's pulled out a wonderful save from Brett Emerton.
"We're slightly disappointed we didn't manage to score because I thought we deserved at least one goal.
"I think it's a positive way we set about a game like this, we tried to control possession - it's just the top line that didn't manage to get the goal."
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