Lambert confident of revival

Paul Lambert is sure Aston Villa are mentally strong enough to

get over their worst start to a season since the 1986-87 relegation

campaign.

Villa were six minutes away from a battling draw against Fulham

on Saturday when Chris Baird scored from a near-post corner,

condemning Lambert’s men to more away-day blues.

To make matters worse, Christian Benteke had a golden

opportunity to rescue a point for Villa but he missed the target

from close range.

Villa have just five points from their first eight matches of

the season and it is 13 games since their last Premier League win

on the road. But Lambert is confident his side are close to turning

the corner.

“There were a lot of good things there. I am disappointed to

lose but I can’t be too disheartened with the way they played,”

Lambert said.

“It is important they don’t get their heads down. I have told

them that. They will get knocks along the way and it is how you

bounce back.

“I think they will be fine. I think they are mentally strong

enough to handle it. I really don’t (think we are far away from

getting the results we want).

“We were unlucky against Newcastle and against Tottenham. I want

to win of course, but I am not overly concerned.

“You need a break, you need a little bit of luck along the way.

It is deserting us at the minute.”

Lambert decided to rest Benteke following his exploits with

Belgium during the international window, which led to a recall for

Darren Bent.

The England striker had been dropped to the bench for Villa’s

last two matches and he was ineffectual on his return to the

side.

Lambert has denied rumours of a rift and he insisted Bent is not

up for sale – but he was far more effusive in his praise of

Benteke, despite his glaring miss.

“It never has been an issue. I just try and pick a team that I

think can win. I don’t have a problem with any of the players,”

Lambert said.

“Chris had two hard games with the national team. Darren was

fresh. I thought he (Bent) did really fine. I thought him and Gabby

(Agbonlahor) worked well and worked hard together.

“From where I was standing I don’t know how far away (Benteke’s

chance) was and how close the shot was. I don’t know if it was a

chance.

“He will be a big player for this club. He is in one hell of a

national side at the minute and performing really well. He will be

fine

“He is a handful. He changes the dynamics of a game at certain

times. He will be a big player for us. He has got years to go in

his career.”