independent

Friday 18 April 2014

Smells like team spirit to Lambert

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has praised the way his young squad are handling the pressure of being involved in a Barclays Premier League relegation dogfight.

Lambert feels his players will reap the benefits of the experience gained this season should they manage to survive. Villa will be bidding for a third successive league win for the first time in nearly three years when they take on Liverpool on Easter Sunday.

He said: "The lads have kept on going. We've been around and about there (the bottom three) for the whole season. They are handling the pressure of it, so it's not new for them, they know exactly what they've got to try to do."

He added: "The fact they are not wilting under everything is great. It's nothing new for us going into this game. It might be for a few others.

"When you start to win games, you start to pull other people into it who maybe feel a bit edgy over it. We are only four points away from 11th. A few weeks ago, everyone thought 11th spot would be miles clear of trouble.

"It just shows you, one or two wins, you pull everyone back into it. If we can win Sunday it certainly puts pressure on people and keeps you looking up the table, which everyone wants to do."

Lambert is happy with the performances of his side in recent weeks and the progress being made by his players.

He said: "It (a relegation battle) is not something you want to go through. But in a roundabout way, if we survive this season, it might be a blessing because you've been through really tough times at various points in the season.

"The year's experience will certainly help the players. There's no two ways about it. They are getting better every game. The lads have the belief they know they can go and win games."

Midfielder Fabian Delph will return for the Villa Park clash after completing a two-game ban, while record signing Darren Bent, midfielder Karim El Ahmadi and defender Nathan Baker have been declared fit. Lambert will check on the fitness of centre-back Ciaran Clark (shoulder) and midfielder Brett Holman (hamstring) before finalising his side.

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