5 August 2012 12:39
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert praised Ron Vlaar after the defender made his debut in a pre-season friendly against Nottingham Forest.
Villa lost the match 3-1, but despite the result Lambert said he was impressed with the defender, who signed from Feyenoord last month.
“I thought Ron was excellent. I thought he was really commanding. I think Ron will do great for us. I know he’s a very good player,” Lambert told the club’s official website.
“Ron hasn’t done too much regarding training but I thought he was excellent. I think he’ll be a big favourite with the crowd, that’s for sure.”
Fit-again striker Darren Bent also featured, and Lambert feels the game will help him enormously as he recovers from a thigh strain picked up on the club’s US tour.
“It’s a big plus for us that Darren (Bent) returned,” he said.
“He’s a natural goalscorer and a threat. He’s a little bit behind in terms of fitness but he’s certainly a threat.
“That will do him the world of good.”
The defeat to Forest was Villa’s first of their pre-season but Lambert insisted results were not important at this stage of the campaign.
“Listen, pre-season games don’t mean a great deal to me. It’s all about the fitness. The lads have been excellent,” he said.
“It’s hard to judge pre-season games, even when you’re winning them. It’s still hard then.
“It gives you that breed of confidence but I won’t be dwelling on one defeat when you consider what the lads have done over the last month or so.
“We have had a lot of games and we’ve done really, really well. Listen, we’ll be okay.
“I said when I came in that nobody would thank me for winning every pre-season game and then losing 12 games or something in the league. I don’t pay too much attention to pre-season games.
“That first game of the season is the thing that really matters. I can’t fault the team and the way they have played. They’ve been really excellent.”