Villa Look to Have Been Vindicated by Decision to Stick to Youth Policy; MEL EVES FORMER Wolves Star Mel Eves Is Now Managing Director of Eleven Sports Management - Leaders in Performance Development, Who Can Offer the Best Tools and Techniques to Show You How to Maximise Your Sporting Potential. WWW.Elevensports.Com THE EX-WOLVES FAVOURITE, NOW A FOOTBALL AGENT, WRITES FOR MERCURY SPORT

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Byline: MEL EVES

WHILE I thought Villa could beat Sunderland on Monday night, I'm quite happy to admit that I didn't see 6-1 coming.

It was a night when everything just fell into place perfectly for Villa; Christian Benteke, Andi Weimann (pictured) and Gabby Agbonlahor all clicked on the same night, Matthew Lowton was different class, Joe Bennett impressed me and Ron Vlaar did well in organising the defence.

Mind you, it was no surprise the game finished 6-1 rather than 6-0 - Villa still can't manage to keep a clean sheet.

Yet it hauled them five points clear of the one remaining relegation place before yesterday's game against Norwich and put the heat squarely on their rivals - especially Newcastle United.

The Villa Park hierarchy will see it as vindication for their decision to refuse to change their plan, back the manager when it all seemed to be going wrong for Paul Lambert in mid-season and stick with his recruitment policy of relying on young up-and-coming players.

If Villa do stay up, those players will have benefited greatly from the experience of this season and the pressures they've gone through.

Benteke has blossomed to become my choice as the top player of the season on our patch and it was only because Gareth Bale has been so awesome for Tottenham Hotspur that the big Belgian didn't win the PFA Young Player of the Year award. …