Premier League

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert welcomes two-week break

Paul Lambert: Glad for two-week break from games

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Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has welcomed the club's two-week break from matches as a chance to get some of his key players fit to help in the club's relegation battle.

Villa moved out of the bottom three of the Premier League courtesy of Sunday's 2-1 home win over West Ham but do not play again until they visit Arsenal on 23 February.

Winger Charles N'Zogbia, who scored one of Villa's goals on Sunday, suffered a knee injury during the game while a sickness bug at the club deprived them of striker Gabriel Agbonlahor and midfielder Karim El Ahmadi.

"We have got this breather now after what has been a hectic period," Lambert said. "There have also been lads away with their various national teams. It will give them a break.

"It will also let people like Gabby and Charles recover from illness and injury. Charles has hurt his knee. He has this fortnight's break so hopefully he will be okay while Ron Vlaar also took a knock.

"There has also been a sickness bug at the club. Ashley Westwood had it during last week and Gabby and Karim had it the night before the West Ham game and on the day of the match.

"It was a blow but hopefully everyone will be okay and fit for the Arsenal game."

Lambert also praised the character shown by his players in recent weeks, even when results have been going against them - a quality he feels will help them win their fight against the drop.

"They have taken a lot of knocks and a lot of criticisms but we've never let their heads go down," added Lambert. "That's important.

"We've played well in some recent games, the first half at West Brom, the second half against Newcastle, and at Everton we were excellent.

"From mid-table to the bottom, there is little in it and another eight or nine teams are doing the same as what we are doing."

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