Lambert stays positive ahead of crisis talks with chairman
Aston Villa 0 Wigan Athletic 3
Don't panic, stay calm was the message to Paul Lambert ahead of crisis talks with Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner over the alarming slump that has left the club fighting for Premier League survival.
Saturday's defeat brought a calamitous six days to a close for Villa, with a goal ratio of nil for and 15 against. Only once has a Premier League team conceded more in a three-game sequence but never in the same season.
In a run of remarkable similarity Wigan shipped 18, losing 8-0 to Chelsea on the final day of 2009-10 and then 4-0 to Blackpool and 6-0 to Chelsea again at the start of 2010-11.
Lambert can also console himself with a flick through Rothmans Football Yearbooks, which reveal that Ipswich conceded 15 in three matches in March 1995, losing 9-0 at Manchester United and 3-0 against Tottenham and Norwich.
Lambert accepts that these are not the kind of statistics that you want to take into a meeting with the owner, who was ringside for this latest drubbing.
Lerner journeyed from the United States to see first-hand the scale of the crisis engulfing his club, who sit just one point above the relegation zone, and to discuss with Lambert what moves they might make in the looming transfer window.
Wigan were gifted the lead inside three minutes, Ivan Ramis rising unchallenged to meet Shaun Maloney's corner and crash a header past Brad Guzan.
Another 40 minutes elapsed before Villa remotely threatened a goal – they have had only four shots on target in their last three games – and then Brett Holman hit the bar from point-blank range.
Two rapier strikes in four minutes at the start of the second half from Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Kone made better sense of the dominance of a visiting side for whom Maloney was excellent behind Franco di Santo and Kone.
Lambert should draw comfort from a Wigan performance that followed a return of only four points from nine games – a run which saw them fall into the bottom three.
This victory took Wigan out of the relegation slots and above Villa on goal difference.
Their manager, Roberto Martinez, had this advice for Lambert: "Paul knows exactly what he's doing and has got a great group of players.
"You could see it today that at 3-0 down they were fighting for each other.
"We've been in a similar situation and when you change things round and you bring in different ideas and you get young players, you need to be a little bit patient." (© Independent News Service)