Sticking to the plan was key to defeating Norwich City, says Aston Villa’s Gabby Agbonlahor

Gabby Agbonlahor gives Aston Villa the lead. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Gabby Agbonlahor gives Aston Villa the lead. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Lambert's Premier League return to Norwich City was not lost on Gabby Agbonlahor or his Aston Villa team-mates, the forward admitted.

But in the end it was nothing more than a distant sideshow as the Birmingham side stuck to their task and condemned the Canaries to what could prove to be the most painful of defeats.

'Yes of course it registered that he was coming back – there has been plenty of talk about it, as you would expect – but he just told us to go out there and play our game, and stick to our tactics and they ended up coming good,' he said.

'The main thing on our mind was just to get the three points, nothing else.

'They had a few chances to win it as well, but we always feel with the players we have got we will always create chances and we will get opportunities, which we had, and we had a few more which we should've scored as well.'

While the result pushed City further into relegation mire, it also lifted Villa clearer from trouble than they have been at any point this season.

'I think our season has had its ups and downs but there are a lot of teams around the same level and every season it is going to get harder and harder,' Agbonlahor added. 'There's not much of a gap between 14, 15 sides in the league.

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'These young lads have had some bad things said about them when things weren't going well but they've stood up to the plate and performed week in, week out, and they are improving game by game. So hopefully we can get this season out of the way and then you will see more improvement next season.'

Saturday was not the first time Agbonlahor has torn the Canaries apart – and it has not been only City on the receiving end. Having played more than 250 times for Villa, the 26-year-old forward's 62nd and 63rd Premier League goals for the club Villa took him further away from Dwight Yorke's previous club record of 60 goals – and left Villa manager Paul Lambert beaming.

'He was first class,' said the Scot of the Villa youth product. 'He has pace and power. In modern day football if you have that it is a terrific weapon.

'Breaking Dwight Yorke's record is an outstanding achievement. He has been at the club his whole career, has a great rapport with the crowd. His speed is an absolute threat. I think he is enjoying his football again. He revels playing in it. He has so much to offer and if he keeps doing what he's doing, he'll be OK.'

Villa host Chelsea in Saturday's only Premier League fixture – it was the Blues who hammered Villa 8-0 at Stamford Bridge in December.