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Clarke Admits to a Gulf in Class as Aston Villa Earn Comfortable Victory

Walsall manager Darrell Clarke has spoken following Wednesday evening's pre-season defeat to Aston Villa and insisted that the match, which saw his side slip to a 5-1 defeat, was a good workout as he continues to prepare for the season-opening clash with Northampton Town.

The match saw summer signing Stuart Sinclair score with a sweetly-struck effort on the half-hour mark, and allowed the manager to put out the team widely believed to be the one which will open the season, whilst offering more match minutes to players on the fringes of the team.

Clarke, who has seen his team take on a variety of opponents including Alfreton Town, Leamington, and Polish side Odra Opole, agreed that it was that quality which proved to be the difference with Dean Smith's side being ruthless in front of goal as summer signings Jota and Wesley joined Jack Grealish in hitting the back of the net.

Speaking via the Express & Star, Darrell said; "The game was a very good workout first and foremost. Villa were so clinical with their chances and I think that shows you the gulf in class.

"The had a lot of possession, we knew they would, but they were really ruthless in front of goal. They punished us on five occasions although the first one looked a yard or two offside.

"I was disappointed with the goals we gave away. But we were playing against an Aston Villa team full of players of Premier League class. We always knew it was going to be a difficult evening.

"But it was great to get a goal for the fans and it was a great finish by Stuart Sinclair. And we did put some good moves together when we did get on the ball.

"But when you look at a Premier League player what you see is everything. Height, strength, speed of thought - they are always ahead of the game. That is where players need to strive to be - to play at the highest level possible."

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