Lambert not scared by history
Villa boss will strive to bring success back to new club
Last Updated: August 5, 2012 1:13pm
Paul Lambert: Ready to deal with the expectations at Aston Villa
Paul Lambert is ready to embrace Aston Villa's glorious past as he hopes to bring success back to the Midlands club.
Lambert replaced Alex McLeish at Villa Park at the end of last season after doing an impressive job with Norwich - winning two promotions and keeping the Canaries in the Premier League.
But the 42-year-old Scot has traded Carrow Road for the former champions of Europe and has already brought in Ron Vlaar, Karim El Ahmadi and Matt Lowton as he rebuilds the side.
He accepts it will be a challenge to deal with the weight of expectation at Villa but it's one he is relishing.
"Aston Villa are a big club with a massive support," O'Neill told Scotland's Sunday Mail.
"They expect to be successful and to be winning - and they are quite right to think like that. It's up to me to make that a reality and I will give it my best.
"But I have always said the game is about the players - and I'll never change my opinion. Ultimately, they win or lose games. It's as simple as that.
"I take great care about the type of player I sign. They have to have the right characteristics, be confident and must be able to fit in.
"I have inherited some good players and have added quality. The names of my new signings might not roll off the tongue but I believe in them.
"They know what we are trying to do here and think they'll be able to help.
"I'm aware of the standards of Aston Villa and I'm aware of the history.
"The memory of winning the [European] Cup in 1982 is something we should embrace and respect. Players such as With, Allan Evans, Dennis Mortimer, Gordon Cowans and Gary Shaw are legends.
"I'm not scared of memories. It gives us something to aim for, although we must be realistic.
"I watched the final on TV and it was an incredible result. Bayern had Paul Breitner, Klaus Augenthaler and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
"Villa lost Jimmy Rimmer early on and had to put a young Nigel Spink in goals. It was a brilliant feat. Phenomenal.
"We still have the 1982 Lounge at the stadium - and rightly so."
Villa have struggled to reach those same heights in recent years, although former boss Martin O'Neill did guide the claret and blue outfit to three consecutive top-six finishes.
Lambert believes that is a realistic target and cannot wait to get started.
"This club had a fantastic period under O'Neill," he added. "They were consistently in the top six and qualified for Europe.
"Unfortunately, the past two years have been a barren spell. I'm here to try and change that. I did it at Norwich.
"This is a great club to work for and a big opportunity for me. In terms of finance, I know exactly what the club can do. Listen, it's not all about cash. That's never my outlook.
"What I do know is it will be an exciting season and I'm pleased to be part of it all. Last season was my first in the Premier League. This one can't come quickly enough."