John Deehan - Europe the key to Paul Lambert’s switch from Norwich City to Aston Villa

Former Norwich City and Aston Villa stalwart John Deehan believes the lure of competing for Europe may have tempted Paul Lambert to make the switch to the Midlands.

Lambert is poised to be officially unveiled by Villa tomorrow, but Deehan is adamant the Scot's Norwich legacy means he is always guaranteed a special place in the Canaries' history.

Deehan uniquely played for and managed both clubs and knows Lambert's Norwich successor faces a tough task. Deehan replaced Mike Walker back in 1994 following a similarly golden period for the club.

He said: 'The Norwich fans will have a huge amount or respect for him. There's not much more they could have done – all they can do is fill the home ground at Carrow Road which they do on a regular basis, it's always a sell-out. They couldn't have done much more. Possibly the lure of what Aston Villa can bring is the reason why Paul is coming. The possibility of getting back into Europe and challenging in the top eight places on a regular basis. That's what Aston Villa should be doing and I'm sure that's the challenge which Paul will set himself.

'Villa now need to move forward as quickly as possible and buy a couple of quality players that will at least get them to mid-table security very quickly and then challenge for one of the cups or a European place, as we have done in previous seasons.'


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Deehan believes Lambert's brave attacking philosophy will win over any doubters among the Villa support.

He said: 'He managed to build a side at Norwich that was entertaining at home and that is, more than anything, what the majority of Villa supporters want. Their grievance last year was that they were too cautious at Villa Park. Hopefully Paul will take the leash off and we'll see teams being under pressure again at Villa Park and the home side winning high-scoring encounters. As a supporter myself it's been hard watching our key players go each season. We've seen the likes of James Milner, Gareth Barry, Ashley Young, and Stewart Downing all go out and we're replacing them with young players that have been produced by a youth system at Villa Park. We need some experience in there too. Alex McLeish had a tough job because he was asked to cut the wage bill and it clearly became very difficult for him in the final few months of his reign.'

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Deehan said Villa chairman Randy Lerner will have to back Lambert in the transfer market to turn around the ailing fortunes of the former European Cup winners. He said: 'Paul is a very good manager, and his record proves that, but as for taking this club forward, a lot will depend on what Mr Lerner decides to do. He needs to back him in the transfer market there's no doubt about that because this squad needs improving.'

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