Clubs agree Lambert settlement
Marseille rejoined Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon
on 38 points with a 1-0 win over St Etienne on Sunday.
superbly headed home Rod Fanni’s cross on the stroke of
half-time to earn Marseille a fourth victory in their last five
St Etienne, in contrast, have now earned just two points from
their last five matches and have gone from looking like genuine
title contenders to a side stuck in mid-table, 11 points adrift of
Valenciennes. meanwhile, bounced back from successive defeats
with a hard-fought 2-1 win over 10-man Evian.
Goals from Gregory Pujol and Jose Saez saw the hosts to a
victory that means they will spend the winter break inside the top
Saber Khelifa equalised for Evian in the first half but they had
no response to Valenciennes’ second goal, which came just moments
after the visitors had lost Djakaridja Kone to a 71st-minute red
In Sunday’s other game, Sochaux lost 2-0 at Toulouse to remain
stuck in the bottom three heading into the winter break.
Adrien Regattin put the hosts in front in the first half with a
superb free-kick and Emmanuel Riviere sealed the win five minutes
Despite the return of fit-again Gareth Bale, Villas-Boas’ team
rarely threatened Stoke’s goal on Saturday, and Asmir Begovic’s
only important save came in injury time when substitute Gylfi
Sigurdsson tested him with a close-range header.
The result means Tottenham head to Aston Villa on Boxing Day
outside the Champions League qualification places.
But Villas-Boas remains convinced his team are on course to
achieve their objective of a top-four finish.
He said: “I think we have enough to finish top four. It doesn’t
shift because of one result.
“There’s a lot of teams with 30 points so even if the teams get
a couple of points the difference is minimal. The Premier League is
“The team that sits third the other day now sits sixth or
seventh in the league.”
Stoke, meanwhile, are now eight matches unbeaten for the first
time since they earned promotion to the Premier League.
Potters boss Tony Pulis, however, is not getting carried
“We still need 14 or 15 points to stay up,” the Welshman
“That will always be our priority – staying up.
“Then we’ll try to get a little bit better and better.”
Villas-Boas had praise for Stoke after the game.
“I totally respect Stoke,” he said.
“What they have achieved this season is tremendous because it
gives credit to Tony Pulis’ work. You don’t expect to play Stoke
and for them to take the game easily.
“I admire other types of football. But you have to respect them.
It’s not easy when you give so much possession to the opponent and
you have to defend but all credit to them and their work.”
Lambert and Norwich were both suing each other for breach of
contract and the issue was due to go before a Premier League
tribunal next month, but it has now been resolved.
The Scot left Norwich in the summer after three successful years
in which he led the Canaries to successive promotions and 12th
place in the Premier League.
Lambert has always believed he did nothing wrong in the sense he
was entitled to talk to any interested clubs.
Villa were also adamant that they acted in a proper manner and
would have met the terms of Lambert’s contract.
The two clubs issued a statement on Sunday evening which read:
“Paul Lambert, Norwich City and Aston Villa have agreed settlement
in respect of the dispute regarding Paul Lambert’s departure from
“Villa will pay Norwich City the original amount as agreed in
the contract between Paul Lambert and Norwich City, and Norwich
City will pay Paul Lambert the bonus he was entitled to after
completion of the 2011/12 season.
“This represents a final settlement of all claims and disputes
between the parties. No further comment will be made.”
Lambert had been upset when Norwich chairman Alan Bowkett made
the dispute public at a fans’ forum earlier this season and claimed
he had left all of his previous clubs in a similar manner.
But Lambert said before the recent Capital One Cup quarter-final
between the clubs that he hoped agreement could be reached in the
dispute and that has now happened.