After narrowly surviving relegation last season, Aston Villa are flirting with danger once again. With just 10 matches to play, Villa are 18th in the table and could suffer their first Premier League relegation. However, in an interview with Yahoo! Villa’s manager Paul Lambert maintained a positive attitude.
“We always try and keep things upbeat and don’t dwell too much on a loss but instead try and keep a level playing field, this way everyone can keep enjoying their football. There is nothing worse than coming into a workplace which is negative and down, that’s when you can start to lose the players. The important thing is not to feel sorry for yourself, you have to stay positive.”
Lambert is hopeful his club can pick up meaningful points in upcoming matches. “With the way the lads are playing at the moment I can see us picking up some really good wins. In respect of a points target I’m really not sure what is going to be enough to keep any of the teams up.”
He plans on picking up these points by continuing to introduce younger players to the starting XI. “You know that when you bring in young players they don’t have a fear or feel the pressure as much as when they get a bit older. I don’t have a problem playing young players at all, if you’re good enough then I’ll throw you in, everyone has to have an opportunity to perform. It is tough to leave an older player out, especially a seasoned one who has played 100 or 200 games, but you always have to make the decision which is right for the football club. ”
Among those young players is Christian Benteke, who has been a great addition to the club. “We watched him more and one of the scouts saw him playing for Belgium and we decided to take a chance. Nobody really knew too much about him before he arrived, but since he has I think his performances have been exceptional. Plus he is also playing in a really good Belgian national team, is still only 22-years-old and probably won’t hit his peak until his late twenties.”
The manager did admit this season’s struggles have taken a toll on the club. But, he feels this is something every Premiership team experiences. “I think every season is hard, even if you’re doing really well, you’ve still got to earn every win. I think we should have more points than we do because we played well in some games and came away with nothing.”
Regardless of the club’s final position in the table, Lambert has thoroughly enjoyed coaching Villa. “I love the challenge of it. The size of the club underlines just how big a challenge it is and I love the pressure of that. It is a great club to be associated with and the fans have been great, they’ve stuck with us and that has been a huge help. I hope over the next 11 games we can see the job through for them.”
For more insight from Paul Lambert and other leading managers plus exclusive Premier League highlights go to www.yahoo.co.uk/sport