Premier League

Lambert - No excuses for loss

Villa boss says Ireland injury was huge blow

Paul Lambert: Expects plenty of ups and downs to come for Aston Villa

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Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert made no excuses for his side's 4-1 drubbing at the hands of Southampton at St Mary's Stadium.

Saints' miserable start to life back in the Premier League had looked set to continue after sloppy defending allowed Darren Bent to break the deadlock in the first half.

But Rickie Lambert then inspired the hosts as they produced a superb comeback as his double was sandwiched between Nathaniel Clyne's effort and an own goal by Ciaran Clark.

Disappointing

"If you're not bang at it, that's what can happen," Lambert told Sky Sports.

"It's hard to pin-point, but losing Stephen (Ireland) was a blow because I thought he was playing really well."

Paul Lambert on Aston Villa's defeat

Quotes of the week

"It's hard to pinpoint, but losing Stephen (Ireland) was a blow because I thought he was playing really well, but it's still no excuse to lose like that."

Christian Benteke missed a second-half chance with a header, which drifted just wide of the far post and might have put the game to bed if it have gone in.

However, Lambert was not looking for excuses for his side's failure.

"I always think that one goal is never enough. First half was really good but the goals we lost were really poor."

Lambert searching for positives in woeful Villa loss

Asked what he thought on the partnership between Darren Bent and Benteke, the Scot replied: "I think for Christian, which was his first start, I thought he was a handful. Darren is a goalscorer, which everybody knows, but I think it will take time.

"They (the young players) have to get it pretty quickly (playing in the Premier League) although they gave us plenty of effort. I can't fault that, but we have to keep cracking on now.

"It's important to try and keep a level head and keep going. It's a long, long season and there will be plenty of ups and downs to come."