Writer: Mike Field
Date:Saturday January 4 2014
Manager Paul Lambert has said that he was bitterly disappointed to see Villa go out of the FA Cup at the third round stage today to League One Sheffield United.
Speaking to the Official Site following the two one loss on home soil that we at least dominated possession on for a change to be fair, Lambert said.
'It was bitterly disappointing after a really good win on Wednesday. To get knocked out was really frustrating, it hurts. Anyone who knows me will tell you I'm not the happiest person when we lose. We picked a really strong side to try and get through.'
Well that's nice to know then, he's not happy when we lose. He must have been a right old grumpy bastard since joining the club.
A lot of the fans have been, and that number is growing with every passing match this season, but of course we can ignore the club, the players, the failures in the transfer market and even the football, this after match interview is all 'me, me, me.'
Not only do we learn that our manager isn't happy when we lose, he then goes on to talk at length about the press being dominated by his own words ahead of the game where he said that most managers would admit the FA Cup is something they can do without if they were being honest, because all that matters is the league.
Now I covered this myself, but being in a rush I made the mistake of not doing what I often advise others to do...don't just read one report on something, read three or four so you get the full rounded picture.
The quotes I picked out were sensible enough about the Cup, in terms of making changes to rest players ahead of the Arsenal game etc but didn't of course include the all important gems that he actually came out with. And on that subject, whether or not it was his intention to 'disrespect' the Cup when talking about players caring more about contracts than winning things, and the focus having to remain always on the league - as to be fair he did also maintain we would be trying to win the game - he said.
'I never demeaned the competition one bit. I respect the history of the competition and what the competition is about. If you look at my own career, I have won some nice things through cup competitions. The journalist himself says he regrets asking the question because of what has happened with people's reactions. I think the whole context of the interview, there was never any way I was decrying the competition at all.'
And the journalist in question Mark Regan does regret it, he says so on his Twitter feed and actually explains exactly why he regrets asking it because he doesn't like having his work 'butchered' nor 'receiving 3 ludicrous calls from the #avfc press officer.'
But apparently it's all about context isn't it?
We'll leave that there I think and go back to the match.
'In terms of the game itself, we had a lot of the ball and that seems to be a problem here.'
Nope, at home I think it's been a while since we last had a lot of the ball.
'Maybe at home teams are sitting in against us and making it hard. We need that creativity. It's just not there at the moment, but away from home, it seems to be different.'
Well teams defending deep at Villa Park knowing they just have to wait out our Plan A of counter attacking until we make no progress at all and then inevitably make a mistake at the back, has been pretty evident since last season.
Fans have been talking for months about the dire need for a Plan B at home and we weren't on about another music gig, because it's blindingly obvious how teams line up against us, whereas on their home soil they have to push forward more for the fans whereas away from home, they can bide their time out.
Lambert also goes on to credit the 'effort and endeavour' of the players again and frankly it's getting boring. Maybe it was a good solid, full of effort performance today and things didn't go for us. Reading the comments of those at the game though I somehow doubt that, and that has all too often this season been the case.
We can't live on last season's memory of the gung ho nature of the squad because that just has not happened so far this season, yet if you read the standard cliche's now trotted out after every match it makes us sound like we are unlucky, and maybe we are, we are unluckily just not good enough and very little has changed despite the passing of numerous transfer windows.
Anyway, Nathan Baker felt his hamstring ahead of the game so was withdrawn from the squad, and Gabby Agbonlahor also had the same problem.
Ah I can't resist.
'That team I picked was, in my view, strong enough to win.'
Well it did contain EIGHT regular and relied upon first team members, for all the talk of changes and resting players for Arsenal so they didn't pick up injuries we had EIGHT members of the first team in there.
You could say nine because it's not like Aleksander Tonev hasn't been seen regularly lately. Then again you could say ten because Marc Albrighton isn't exactly a stranger either.
That would leave Jed Steer in goal as the only real change, so it's nice to know the gaffer believed that 10 regulars in the first team might just have enough about them to beat a League One team.
It's comforting isn't it.
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Date:Saturday January 4 2014
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