Tuesday 20 March 2018

Lambert pleased with Villa response

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert secured a hat-trick of wins at former club Norwich on Saturday and declared himself pleased with the six points his side now have on the board.

After an opening day victory at Arsenal Lambert's side had lost their next three Barclays Premier League games to Chelsea, Liverpool and Newcastle before a goal from substitute Libor Kozak gave them a 1-0 triumph at Carrow Road - their third win in Norfolk in the last year.

Lambert left Norwich under a cloud to take the reins at Villa Park and his side had to survive an early penalty miss from Canaries' winger Robert Snodgrass and a first-half injury to Christian Benteke to secure the win.

The Scot was jeered by the home fans for much of the game but afterwards he was more interested in praising his players for their response to a poor home performance against Newcastle seven days earlier.

"It was disappointing last weekend against Newcastle but I am delighted we bounced back this weekend very strongly," said Lambert.

"I am pleased. The start (to the season) we had was extremely tough with three of the top sides and we ran them very close, beating one of them."

Lambert's young side were resolute in defence as Norwich chased an equaliser, with goalkeeper Brad Guzan the stand-out player as Villa secured a first clean sheet in the league for over nine months.

Five of Villa's summer signings played some part in the win with Kozak joined by Aleksandar Tonev, Leandro Bacuna, Nicklas Helenius and Antonio Luna.

Lambert has been impressed with what he has seen so far but is still expecting bigger and better things from his recent acquisitions.

"The new lads will take time to adapt but so far they have been excellent for us," he added.

"Libor came on and to be fair it was at a difficult time. He popped up with the goal that has won us the game.

"He's come here [to English football], with how fast it is, and he's endeared himself to the crowd which is great."

Norwich midfielder Jonny Howson, who was Lambert's penultimate signing as Canaries' boss, felt Guzan's heroics in the Villa goal were the difference between the two sides.

"We just needed a little bit of luck, we needed one to drop for us - a tap-in or an own goal, something like that," he said.

"Sometimes you just have to say fair play to the goalkeeper, especially the save off Hooper at the end. I haven't seen it back again but in real-time I thought 'what a save'. He has arguably got them the three points, it just wasn't to be."

Chris Hughton has seen his side score just once in their last four Premier League games but, with Stoke, Chelsea and Arsenal on the horizon, Howson is certain they can start to turn things around.

"These things happen," he added.

"It is a long season and we will have our ups and downs, we are a good group and we will keep working hard - it won't affect the team and we will keep giving all we have got.

"We came out in the second half and gave it a real go, I think we definitely deserved something out of the game but you get games like that in football."

Press Association

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