Beating Manchester City Is Possible - Lambert

Beating Manchester City Is Possible - Lambert

Paul Lambert insists it would be a massive boost for his relegation-threatened side if they could beat Manchester City at Villa Park on Monday night.

Beating Manchester City Is Possible - Lambert

A good weekend would be an outstanding one for Aston Villa if they could build on much-improved recent performances against Everton, West Ham and Arsenal and down the reigning champions.

"If we can win this one, it will be huge," the manager said. "It just gives you so much confidence to go into the next one."

Given that the "next one" for Villa is the six-pointer at Reading on Saturday, the ante is well and truly turned up for this evening. And the Scot has discounted any thoughts that his players are viewing a point as the limit to their ambitions.

"You are there to win, regardless of whether it is Manchester City, QPR or whoever," he said. "We have to try and win. We are not going into it just to draw or anything like that. We want to win. The fans will make you drive forward as well. We are a threat going forward.

"The players know it's within their capabilities, that's for sure. Even against Arsenal, we shouldn't have lost.

"There is a lot of confidence there. We are playing well enough to win games. You have to get a foothold in it against sides like City. I'm a great believer in that in any game you play. We are at home and the majority of the crowd will be with us and drive us on and we have to get in among it and try and not let them settle."

Villa's next home game after Monday's game is against QPR, so it's tempting to regard this as a crucial phase of Lambert's first season in charge.

Weekend defeats for Reading and Wigan have encouraged them and QPR's victory at St Mary's has dragged Southampton back into trouble. Now the manager is hoping a corner has been turned.

"You have to think of a new dawn," he said. "Otherwise there's no point being here. You have to stay in the league, keep believing what you are doing is right and keep focusing on your beliefs. I'll never deviate from that.

"The thing we'll see is that the players are up for it, that is for sure. I don't see them being frightened or a lack of confidence or anything like that at all. I never get a sense on the training ground that it has been really down. I can't argue the last few weeks with the way they've been playing. They've given it a right good go.

"The league is unrelenting at times. You don't get a respite from it. We had Arsenal last week and now have Man City, so it's a tough game.

"But if we keep playing the way we are playing, we will certainly win more games than not. When your lads go over that white line, you've got to trust them, which I do. They give me everything and I can never accuse them of not having effort and endeavour.

"I knew it was going to be tough. Randy (Lerner) told me that from day one. But it's a brilliant challenge for us to go and rectify it.

"I knew the parameters. It's a great challenge, a great club with a great fan-base. You either deal with it and meet it head on or you roll over and die with it. I always meet things head on. I've never been one to shy away from things."

Lambert, who will make a late check on the fitness of utility man Chris Herd, has rubbished suggestions of a bust-up with his former City midfielder Stephen Ireland. There have been reports of a fall-out - even that the player has been training away from the first team - with the Irishman not even in the 18 for recent games.

But the manager said: "He has always been in the squad. The report that he has been training with the reserves is nonsense. That is pure lies. He has never trained with the reserves. He has always trained with the first team.

"There are a lot of players there and you can only pick 18 players. He is training well and doing everything we are asking from him. It is just that I've got to pick 18 lads that I think can make something happen. I get on really well with Stephen."

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