Belfast Telegraph

Dann accepts blame for Villa winner

Scott Dann has admitted he will never win an England call-up if he keeps giving away soft goals like Christian Benteke's strike that consigned Crystal Palace to Aston Villa defeat.

Dann's positional misjudgement gifted Belgium strker Benteke the chance to fire the winner in Villa's 1-0 Premier League victory at Palace on Tuesday night.

The in-form defender has been touted for an England call, with boss Neil Warnock hailing him Palace's "outstanding player" this term.

Benteke's first goal after nine months battling knee surgery ended Villa's nine-game winless streak, but dragged Palace back into the relegation mire.

"It's nice for people to talk about you in that way," said Dann of calls for him to earn England recognition.

"But as a professional you just get on with your job: I have just got to concentrate on my club form and make sure I don't many any more mistakes like that.

"The more consistent I can be for Palace, the more chance I have got. It is just a case of trying to keep improving and to keep doing the best I can."

Former Blackburn defender Dann raced out of his central position in Tuesday's Villa clash to chase a lumped ball to the wing, but dallied when he should have booted out of play.

Benteke raced in, picked his pocket, headed infield and side-footed past the helpless Julian Speroni, with Brede Hangeland backing off and handing him too much time and space to complete his finish.

Palace boss Warnock admitted his defender should have "kicked it over the stand and not been ashamed", and Dann has accepted responsibility for the goal.

That solitary strike proved the winner on a low-quality night, with Palace wasting half-chance after half-chance in a frustrating night for manager Warnock.

The otherwise-composed Dann offered a candid assessment of his costly error, pledging to sharpen back up.

"Obviously I am disappointed to give the ball away there, it is uncharacteristic for me," he said.

"Ninety-nine times out of 100 I would clear that down the line so that, even if you do lose the ball, they will not go on to score.

"But things like that happen in football and you have to learn from your mistakes, get on with it and take the rough with the smooth."

Palace have now slipped to five defeats in eight games and Dann admitted Warnock's men face a tough challenge to hit back to form in Saturday's league clash at Tottenham.

"It is always a tough game at White Hart Lane," said Dann.

"They are a big club and have got a lot of top players.

"They have just started picking up results but we need to sharpen up in the final third.

"It is hard to take because we had a lot of the ball and had a lot of chances.

"We probably should have put some of them away. We played well and dominated the game and they did not have many chances at all.

"Even when we went a goal down I thought we looked in control and looked like we could have scored.

"We got the ball into crossing positions but just could not get it right."

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