Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert expressed his delight at the work-out his side received during Sunday’s comfortable 2-0 victory over Shamrock Rovers.
First-half goals from strikers Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke were enough to ensure Villa made it three victories on the bounce as a near 6,000 capacity crowd watched the Premier League side dominate the majority of the match.
However, they were given a stern test by their Irish opponents in a highly competitive encounter and Lambert was particularly pleased with the performances of several players including new recruits Aleksandar Tonev and Jores Okore.
“The most important thing is the fact there are no new injuries and it’s another game under our belt. The victory and clean sheet are obviously extremely pleasing but it’s more game-time for the players,” Lambert said at full-time.
“Alex [Tonev] and Jores [Okore] have been out for a month so for them to get 45 minutes is important in a game we looked pretty comfortable in. We are getting there but we have another big test next weekend before the season starts."
Okore, a recent recruit from Nordsjælland, made only his second appearance for his new club after picking up an injury on his debut during their pre-season tour of Germany last month but looked solid and composed throughout his second half run-out in Dublin.
It was Villa’s second clean-sheet in all fixtures since last December and Lambert is confident the hard tackling Denmark international will shore up last season’s leaky rear-guard while adding more competition for places.
“Jores has come in during the summer so there’s more competition there now and with the talented defenders we already have in the squad, we’re pleased with where we’re at," Lambert explained.
However, the forwards and Benteke in particular, stole the headlines as the Belgian striker scored and created one, extending his prolific pre-season form, much to Lambert's delight.
“It was another full house and that doesn’t surprise me because of the following we have here. All the supporters are right behind us and it’s greatly appreciated," he added.
However, he stopped short of discussing the futures of first-team players Shay Given, Enda Stevens, Alan Hutton, Stephen Ireland, Barry Bannan and Nathan Delfouneso, who have all been training separately.
When questioned about the transfer situation, he replied; “This is the squad I’m going with and am happy with. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.”
Villa conclude their preperations for the new season when they welcome Liga outfit Malaga to Birmingham next Saturday.