Bruce blasts Houllier
Sunderland boss upset with Villa counterpart over striker switch
Last Updated: January 20, 2011 6:53pm
Bent: His move to Aston Villa has caused disappointment to Bruce
Sunderland boss Steve Bruce has hit out at Gerard Houllier concerning Aston Villa's move for Darren Bent.
There is bad blood between the clubs over the £18m switch of the England striker, with Sunderland chairman Niall Quinn suggesting Villa had approached the player long before the deal went through, although the Midlands club insist no approach had been made prior to the Black Cats' 1-1 draw with Newcastle on Sunday.
But Bruce says a top-class manager would have shown him the respect and courtesy of a phone call.
He also revealed Bent had wanted to move to Turkey last summer but the club averted the switch.
Bruce told Sky Sports News: "There's a lot of people bitterly upset and disappointed, and rightly so.
"My big disappointment of course is Gerard Houllier too who up until this time now, I still haven't had a phone call from.
"I would have thought out of respect and a manager of his status, I would have thought maybe a phone call from him to say 'Listen Steve, we're after your centre forward and your striker.'
"I would have thought, maybe that might have been the way forward, it usually is with the great managers I've had the pleasure to deal with in the past, that's usually the case.
"But in this, so the whole thing has disappointed us and I thought we'd averted it last summer - he (Bent) wanted to go to Turkey last summer and we averted it then.
"So, it's the timing for me - if I'd have known four weeks beforehand or five, six weeks beforehand from his agent or Darren that they were unhappy at the club and wanted to move on then I wouldn't be in a position that I'm in now, with ten days before the window ended and with an injury to Danny Welbeck, that's put us in the situation that we're in and it gives you very little time to try and do anything.
"So it's the timing of it and that's the disappointing thing - all Benty's thought of is himself but I suppose that's football and that's the way it is."
Asked if he was tempted to say no to the deal, he replied: "Yes of course we were, of course we were tempted.
"I think what shocked us all was the written transfer request with Benty that it was so brutal, you know.
"And then in my experience with him, what's the point of keeping someone who doesn't really want to be here.
"I have to say in the last few weeks we have all been scratching our heads saying 'has there been something wrong with Benty, he doesn't look himself'.
"But we didn't see it coming and, yes, we were quite within our right to do that, but in my experience of these things, what is the point?"