Paul Lambert: Aston Villa players to benefit from relegation fight

Last Updated: 26/05/13 11:08am

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert told The Footballers' Football Show that his players will benefit from their successful battle against relegation.

Villa found themselves in the bottom three at the start of March but won five of their final 10 games to pull clear of the drop zone.

Lambert admitted that he feared the worst during Villa's 8-0 drubbing at Chelsea in December, but praised his players for rolling up their sleeves towards the end of the season.

"The year that our lads have had will stand them in great stead, not just for next year but for the rest of their careers."

Paul Lambert

"It's been a really tough season," he said. "I remember sitting in the dugout when we were getting beaten 8-0 at Chelsea and there were still 15 minutes to go. I thought: 'This could be 15-0! How are we going to recover from this?'

"What do you say to lads after a defeat like that? You can't go into the dressing room shouting, so I told them I'd speak to them on Monday. We had a group meeting, where we talked about our beliefs and what we were trying to do.

"Since February, we've been absolutely fantastic. The lads have got to grips with things and have had great belief. We brought in Yacouba Sylla in January and he helped us, then the likes of Matthew Lowton, Ashley Westwood, Ciaran Clark and Nathan Baker all started to rise to the challenge.

Improve

"Up front (Christian) Benteke, (Gabriel) Agbonlahor and (Andreas) Weimann were on fire. From February onwards I couldn't ask for any more.

"The year that our lads have had will stand them in great stead, not just for next year but for the rest of their careers."

Lambert revealed he is looking to strengthen his squad during the summer but stated he will only bring in players who fit the ethos of the club and aren't motivated by money.

He said: "You have to try and improve but we only want to get people in who want to play for this football club and the shirt, and will give it a right good go.

"We're going to stick to our philosophy; that's not going to change. People talk about us needing experienced players but if you go to one of them, the first they'll say is 'how much?' Straight away, you don't think he wants to come to play for our club.

"I want players who will come in and compete, forge a good career for themselves and play for the shirt."