Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has ‘no animosity’ towards Norwich City
Paul Lambert insisted yesterday there is 'no animosity' on his part towards Norwich City ahead of his first Premier League reunion at Villa Park this weekend.
The Aston Villa chief also confirmed the outstanding legal issues between himself and the Canaries remain 'on going' following his acrimonious summer exit.
City's hierarchy are still seeking a separate compensation claim against Aston Villa after Lambert replaced Alex McLeish in the Midlands, but the Scot reiterated they are side issues compared to securing a priceless three league points against his former employers.
'It's just a game, a game we will try to go and win. Listen, I know those Norwich lads as well as anybody but I don't have any animosity towards Norwich whatsoever,' he told Skysports. 'I want to win every game I play. I have a huge gratitude to Norwich City football club for what they did for me in my time there. But like I say there will be no animosity from me.
'We've just got to push on. There's no time to mope. If you start feeling sorry for yourself then you get problems. Some of the football we are playing at the moment is pleasing. It's not like we're struggling all over the park, we're playing some really decent football. There are miles to go, country miles to go, but we do need to start turning these performances into wins. I'm not overly concerned.'
Villa's latest Premier League defeat at Fulham compounded a difficult start to Lambert's tenure with his new club making their worst start to a season since 1986. The 43-year-old is urging Villa's fan base to turn out in force this weekend to try and arrest that early season decline.
'Yes, I want to win, like everybody else, and the crowd want to win, but I don't think it will be long before we turn performances into results, I really don't,' he said. 'It's important that the lads keep their heads up and I've told them, 'Don't let your heads go down because you will take knocks along the way. But you'll bounce back from it.'
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'It's how you bounce back from it that's most important. I think the lads will be fine, I think they're mentally strong enough to handle it.
'They've played in front of big crowds before and this week we're at home. There will be a big crowd again there to watch it so we'll be fine. Our crowd were brilliant at Fulham. They were right behind us.
'We've just got to make sure everybody sticks together. They were excellent. But they have been all season. I have nothing but praise for them. I understand they will be disappointed to lose but I can see a lot of good things.'
Villa's young side were undone by a late Chris Baird set piece at Craven Cottage on Saturday, but Lambert is adamant the former European Cup winners are on the right track for long term success.
'I didn't think there was a lot in it. I thought it was a really close game,' he said. 'I thought some of our play was really good. I can take positives out of it. I'm not going to be too downbeat. We keep going. We will be fine.'