Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Lambert goes on the front foot

Paul Lambert will maintain an attacking philosophy at Aston Villa

Paul Lambert will not curtail Aston Villa's dynamic style of play despite recognising the need to end a run of 25 Barclays Premier League games without a clean sheet.

The Scot earned plaudits last season for his side's attacking philosophy, even though they spent much of the campaign battling relegation due to their tendency to leak goals.

However, Villa seem better positioned to play with freedom this term after Lambert bolstered his squad over the summer and continues to mould the side he wants.

"Of course I want to put it right at the back but I want a team that's exciting," he said.

"I want to try to attack. This season we've started off by playing really well and we're doing well at the moment."

Lambert, whose side beat Arsenal away before losing narrowly to Chelsea and Liverpool this season, added: "We've taken a lot of confidence from the first three games.

"Sometimes you can walk out of a game thinking you deserved to be beaten but against Chelsea and Liverpool I don't think we deserved to lose. We played really well at Stamford Bridge and particularly in the second half against Liverpool I thought we deserved something.

"You can take that confidence from it because the way we played was really positive. If we keep doing that and keep that belief in what we're doing (we'll be okay).

"I've seen that this week in training. I haven't had to say much because it's been that high-level. We just have to take that into Saturday."

Villa's attacking department has been further enhanced this summer by the arrivals of strikers Nicklas Helenius and Libor Kozak, the latter a late signing from Lazio before the transfer deadline.

Lambert insists the Czech Republic international has been brought in as much more than cover for star striker Christian Benteke.

"Listen, I don't bring players in to say 'you can sit on the bench for six months'," said the Scot ahead of Saturday's Premier League clash at home to Newcastle.

"He's here to help and that's what he'll do.

"We've got options here now. I can play the two of them up front, I can do what I want really, because he's a number nine. Which is what I think we've needed as well."

Lambert added: "He's different (to what we've got) but what I do know is that he can score goals. We know that. He's a handful and he's played in Serie A, a league renowned for some of the hardest defending you can come against.

"It's really tough to get away from a defender in Italy. His goalscoring in the Europa League was incredible, to score 10 in 11, an incredible rate at that level when you're up against top players in that competition as well.

"I don't know what happened at Lazio and what went on that meant he couldn't get many starts in Serie A but if you're hitting 10 goals in 11 games in the Europa League it shows you know where the goal is.

"He scored a brilliant goal the other night against Italy in a real high-pressure game, so I don't have any worries about him at all."

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