independent

Wednesday 23 April 2014

Lambert focused on crucial run-in

Paul Lambert is looking forward not back

Paul Lambert has banished thoughts of Aston Villa's hard luck stories as he prepares for "12 cup finals" in the battle for Barclays Premier League survival.

Villa climbed out of the bottom three via their home win over West Ham eight days ago and have started preparations for this weekend's clash at Arsenal after a rare weekend of no action.

Lambert knows Villa could be in a much healthier position had they not allowed points to slip away against Manchester United, West Brom and Everton, and said: "We lost two-goal leads against Manchester United, West Brom and Everton. It's tough when that happens because those points could have made a major difference."

He went on: "But it's happened and you just have to keep going. There's no point in looking back and thinking 'we should have got points here and there'.

"From now on in it's 12 cup finals and that's the way we have to view it. We have to be ready for it and win more times than not."

Lambert has sensed the determination amongst his young squad to win the battle to remain in the top flight.

He said: "The feeling to try to win is there. When you get knocked and knocked at every opportunity...you have to take the game by the scruff of the neck and influence it.

"The last few games we have thought 'we'll have some of this'. You can't go out and play football like it's a hobby.

"It's your job to win. The confidence is high at the moment."

Lambert is hoping winger Charles N'Zogbia (knee) and striker Gabriel Agbonlahor (illness) will be available to face the Gunners after the elongated spell without a game.

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