December 6 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 29, 2012
Paul Lambert aims to use his Norwich City experience to transform Aston Villa’s flagging fortunes.
The Scot has now presided over Villa’s worst start to a season in 43 years after Chris Hughton’s men hit back for a merited Premier League point at Villa Park.
Lambert insisted afterwards he is relishing the fight ahead after replacing Alex McLeish in the summer following his unbroken period of success in Norfolk.
The City Hall of Famer, however, believes too many forget he was dealt some tough cards before guiding the Canaries from the depths.
“I just have this belief we will be fine,” he said. “Even though with Norwich and what happened there in three years, there was a lot of hard work and disappointments too. So you just learn how to handle it.
“I think every job is hard, whether you have good times or bad times. Football management is a really tough job to do.
“The difference with Norwich was we were in League One. This league is unforgiving. League One you can get away with not playing well and maybe getting the odd bad result here and there. But let’s take nothing away from the Norwich lads, because they put the football club where they are. Nobody else but those players – they’re the ones that did it. And they have the belief that you’ll always win games.
“The three years I had at Norwich – don’t think they were a bed of roses. They weren’t. Everything is hard, every game.”
Lambert was predictably the dominant pre-match theme, but the Villa boss maintained facing his former charges was just another day at the office. The Scot was similarly succinct when pressed on his old club’s survival chances
“I really don’t know. My main concern is here. All that didn’t enter my head at all. This (Villa) is my club, it’s a brilliant club,” he said. “I know those (Norwich) lads like the back of my hand, but that is Chris’ team. I’ll be forever thankful for what those Norwich players did.”
Lambert remains unfazed by a daunting upcoming fixture list which includes games against both Manchester clubs and Arsenal.
“I just keep going and try to win. Whereever we play, we have to earn the right,” he said. “We have some tough games coming up, but I’m looking forward to them and so will the lads. You won’t need to lift anybody, they will be big time games so it is something they will raise the bar for. You know you are going to have to play very well and hopefully get a bit of luck, but I go into every game thinking I can win it.”
Lambert admitted he was indebted to an inspired display from keeper Brad Guzan before the American was finally beaten when Michael Turner glanced home Wes Hoolahan’s cross from a quickly-taken corner.
“I was disappointed. We just switched off at the corner and I have said before you cannot switch off at this level,” he said. “The lads were defending really strongly, they were throwing their bodies on the line and we had one recognised centre half in Ron (Vlaar). Chris Herd came in and I thought he was excellent.
“Brad is in world class form at the minute; a really top goalkeeper. I think the football club is really fortunate to have two world class goalkeepers.”
Joe Bennett’s early second half dismissal, after earning a second yellow card for hauling back Elliott Bennett, was the game’s defining moment for Lambert.
“I think the sending off changed it a lot. We were defending quite strongly and we were brilliant defensively,” he said. “I thought Elliott was holding him just as much so it could have gone either way.
“When I first saw it I thought he had put himself in a position he didn’t need to with him already being booked, but Elliott had a hold of Joe as well. It was an even contest. The lad is disappointed but he will learn from it. He’ll be fine. He’ll mull over it for a couple of days.”
Villa’s frustrated support voiced their displeasure at the final whistle after the 1-1 draw, but Lambert urged them to keep the faith after failing to overcome his old club.
“The fans have been brilliant. I can hear when they are not and they have been excellent. They want to win, like everybody else, but it is up to us to get the wins. I can’t fault the effort of the boys,” he said.
“They’ve been brilliant with me since I’ve been at this football club and I’ll keep doing my best to try and give them everything I’ve got.”