Premier League

Premier League: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert takes pop at West Brom ahead of derby

Paul Lambert: Aston Villa a "massive club"

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Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has risked incurring the wrath of West Brom supporters by insisting Villa remain a bigger club than their West Midlands rivals.

Lambert takes his side to The Hawthorns for Monday Night Football with both sides locked on 14 points from their opening 11 matches of the Premier League campaign.

West Brom have finished above Villa in the league for the last two seasons but with a rich heritage at his club, Lambert insists they still outrank Steve Clarke's side.

"Aston Villa is a massive club. I don't think anyone can ever dispute that," said Lambert.

"It's a club that's won a European Cup, league titles, has a massive fan-base and has a bigger stadium.

"That's no disrespect to West Brom at all - they're a good club in their own right.

"I haven't been at West Brom or managed the club but Aston Villa, for me, is a bigger club."

Lambert believes the rarified atmosphere of a derby game can stir teams on to greatness and is hoping for a positive reaction from his players to the occasion.

"Everybody knows a derby is important for supporters, first and foremost. For the team and the football club it's vital to try to win a derby game," he added.

"But the thing with a derby is the fact it doesn't matter who is playing well, you could be top or bottom of the table or near each other.

"In that game people do things which look extraordinary that they wouldn't do in a normal game. That's a derby."

Watch West Brom take on local rivals Aston Villa on Monday Night Football from 7pm tonight on Sky Sports 1 HD.