Lambert keeps confidence in Villa youngsters
ASTON Villa manager Paul Lambert retains his belief the club have a bright future ahead, despite their miserable run over the festive period.
Tuesday's 2-2 draw at Swansea left Lambert with his head in his hands after Danny Graham struck a late leveller for Swansea, but the Scot could at least take some comfort that the Villans had not suffered a fourth-straight heavy defeat.
Prior to their Liberty Stadium visit, Villa had shipped 15 goals and scored none in their previous games and, truth be told, they should have conceded a handful more during an opening half-hour where Swansea threatened to run amok.
Villa, fielding their youngest side in a Premier League game with an average age of 23 years and 119 days, showed grit to steady the ship and should have hung on to claim a valuable win after Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke's penalty put them ahead.
Lambert, without the likes of Darren Bent, Gabriel Agbonlahor, Nathan Baker, Richard Dunne and Ron Vlaar through injury, will look to strengthen his squad in January, but feels he has a group of young players who will serve the club well in the long term.
He said: "We have been better than we have shown in the last three weeks.
"A result like this will always be a building block, it's a long-term job I have here.
"It's a massive job and the football club will be better in the future.
"We do have experience in the squad but some lads are injured at the minute, the club has been in this position before so it is not new to them.
"We know you have to earn the right to go up the league table but the future of the club will be really good.
"Everybody waxed lyrical when we beat Liverpool and two games later against Chelsea people said we can't do anything right, but I will keep the belief I always have.
"I have a great belief in what is happening here."
His opposite number Michael Laudrup starts 2013 with his side eighth in the table having built superbly on the foundations laid by predecessor Brendan Rodgers.
Laudrup is keen to bring in a striker in January with Celta Vigo's Iago Aspas and Sporting Braga's Ederzito Lopes thought to be near the top of his wishlist, although two goals in two games from Danny Graham have given the Dane food for thought.
But Laudrup expects January to be a relatively quiet month for the Swans.
"I am pleased with the squad," he said.
"We are working to be prepared with a list for every position as if something happens you have to be ready, so I don't want to say I am looking for a certain number but there will not be many as I am happy with the squad.
"Nothing is done and it is not good to speculate as you know at the last second things can happen.
"We have to do things well, do things quickly and quietly as if other clubs get notice of what we are doing they may look to come in and then we would have a problem as a lot of teams in the Premier League have more financial capability than us."
Graham has been linked with moves to Norwich and Cardiff, but the former Watford man has spoken of his desire to remain at the Liberty Stadium.
And Laudrup praised the striker's performances against Fulham and Villa.
He said: ""I kept him in the side, not just because he scored at Fulham but because he did a good job in a difficult game the other day.
"He could have scored one or two and in this game his movement was much better, he looks good.
"The goal at Fulham gave him confidence as we know forwards live for goals.
"He did not have that many chances against Villa but he had the one at the end and scored to give us a point.
"It is always good, even if we dropped two points, not to lose a game, to keep getting points on the table."