Aston Villa’s poor Premier League form continued at the weekend, meaning that you have to go back 43 years to find a worse start to the season for the Midlands Club. Manager Lambert, however, remains confident that Villa’s fortunes will soon turn around, "We will stick together and keep driving it on. I trust the team, I trust the players to try and get results. It always hurts when you don't win. I just have this belief everything will be fine."
When questioned by the media whether Villa might be facing the prospect of relegation his answer was simple, "They won't. There is a squad of players there I think can do it [avoid relegation].”
The Villa boss has also insisted that he enjoys a good supportive working relationship with Randy Lerner, in light of the Villa owner visiting in two weeks time for discussions with Lambert. “The chairman has got the club at heart. I have a good relationship with him, which is mutual, and he will come over in a couple of weeks’ time.
“At the end of the day, you just keep going. Has he been really supportive? Yes. Honestly. I have a good relationship with him.”
On a more positive note Lambert his praised Belgian striker Christian Benteke after he claimed his second goal for the club with a cool slotted finish past Ruddy on Saturday. “He can finish. He will be a big player. He is only a young lad and he will have misses in patches throughout his career.”
“But he will be really fine. He is mentally strong, he is no shrinking violet, that is for sure.
“He is a big guy. He has got plenty of attributes. He plays lone striker with Belgium. He mixes well with the lads.”
Tomorrow nights ‘Capital One’ Cup, at Swindon’s County Ground, will come as a welcome distraction from the Premier League for Villa. Arguably their best performance of the season came in the last round of the competition when they beat Man City 4-2 at the Etihad, Villa will be eager to restore the same buzz that surrounded that shock win. Left back Bennett will be unavailable after being sent off against Norwich and N’Zogbia also remains on the injured list with Richard Dunne. Keeper Shay Given and striker Darren Bent will be looking for a starting birth in the hope that they can impress enough to regain the places in the starting line up in the league.
Whatever line-up Lambert goes with he certainly won’t be taking the competition lightly and is weary of the threat of Paolo Di Canio’s team. "The response to a defeat against Southampton the previous weekend in beating Manchester City in the previous round at their place was brilliant. But that's gone now. It's another tough game we are facing on Tuesday. It's not going to be a foregone conclusion. I've been there a few times with Norwich."
Finally American goalkeeper Brad Guzan has reiterated his excitement at being back at Aston Villa, having now cemented his place as first choice with a string of impressive performances. "In football, you never know what's going to happen, particularly when there is a change of manager."
"My contract had expired and I was ready to explore other options. But when the manager came in I had a good conversation with.”
"I was impressed by the direction he wants to take the club and how we're going to get there, so I was excited to come back.”
image: © ell brown