Houllier happy with Bents start

Bent instantly repaid a slice of his £18million price tag with the first half winner against Roberto Mancini's side. It was a huge dent to City's Barclays Premier League title hopes and lifted Villa clear of the relegation zone.

Houllier explained afterwards: "The finish was that of a natural-born finisher, something you cannot teach somebody. That is what he is here for, to score goals. Roberto Mancini told me before the game that I'd signed a great player and that is a tremendous start for him."

England coach Fabio Capello saw Bent make no mistake from close range after Joe Hart had parried a shot from Ashley Young.

Houllier continued: "I thought the boy handled the pressure very well.

"He had settled in well during the week, knows a lot of players from the international scene, and I felt he was ready to play."

Houllier also praised the fighting spirit demonstrated by his side as they made amends for a 4-0 drubbing by City at Eastlands last month.

He said: "That defeat really affected us and we were at rock bottom then.

"But since the start of the new year things have got better and this game epitomised what we want to do.

"We showed tremendous resolve against a very good side and also rode our luck at times."

Source: PA

Source: PA