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Lambert safe from criticism but can't last forever


andykeenan
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http://www.expressandstar.com/sport/aston-villa-fc/2014/04/03/aston-villa-blog-paul-lambert-has-been-safe-from-criticism-but-it-cant-last-forever/

 

Aston Villa Blog: Paul Lambert has been safe from criticism, but it can't last forever

Two teams looking over their shoulders rarely creates the most aesthetically pleasing game, but can Aston Villa beat Fulham? Matt Turvey looks at what could be a defining game in the club’s season.
 
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert on the touchline against Newcastle United
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert on the touchline against Newcastle United
 
This weekend, Aston Villa face off against a team deep in relegation trouble – Fulham. Whilst Villa fans are worried about their own survival, their club are most certainly in a better position in terms of where they are in the league compared to this weekend’s rivals.
 
A bottom of the table clash doesn’t exactly bode well in terms of watching quality football, though many Villa fans will argue that quality football has been something of a scarcity at Villa Park, with wins coming primarily from functionality rather than creativity.
 
In that sense, there’s a growing feeling amongst the club’s fans that things have to change. Yes, Paul Lambert can be praised for achieving what he has so far – survival on a comparatively cut down budget – but things can’t continue like this forever, and the majority of fans will be judging the manager on next season’s performance.
 
Until now, the manager has been safe from criticism because there’s a widespread understanding that the cuts made needed to be enacted, but fans aren’t infinitely impatient, and if success – of some kind – doesn’t come around soon, there will be increasing support for the idea of changing manager.
 
The real problem, however, is that Villa’s issue are more deep seated than some give credit. Yes, some of the wage issues are fixed now and, yes, there is the potential for increased spending come the summer, but I would be amazed if it means a massive change in the money given to the manager by Randy Lerner come May.
 
As fans know, Villa are governed by Financial Fair Play, and despite the best efforts of CEO Paul Faulkner, the turnover at the club has not massively changed, apart from as a result of the league wide increase in TV money generated via the Sky deal.
 
Therefore it would be improbable – if not impossible – for Villa to spend a fortune in the summer, no matter how much the fans want it, unless of course they choose to cash in on Christian Benteke.
 
Aston Villa's Christian Benteke scores his first goal
Aston Villa's Christian Benteke scores his first goal against Norwich City
Many think that Villa’s Belgian number 20 is a certainty for the exit come the summer – especially if he has a good World Cup with Belgium – but there’s a strong argument to say that Benteke is far more valuable to Villa than any amount of money they could be given.
 
The reality is that Benteke could generate up £30m of revenue if he was to be sold, but how will that money be invested if it does occur? Will it be on two quality players who can augment the team? Or will Villa still be shopping in the bargain basement for additions at the average of £2-3m per player spent by Lambert?
 
How the summer money is invested – whether it contains the profits from Benteke or not – will be key to progress. What matter now for Villa though, is getting to safety – surely a game against the bottom side should be the tonic to provide Villa with the last push to get out of danger? We’ll find out this weekend.

 

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-2598411/Paul-Lambert-needs-miracle-save-job-Aston-Villa.html
 

Villa have made no progress under Lambert and he needs a miracle to save his job

By GERARD BRAND
 
 
They're one of seven ever-present clubs in the Premier League and have had nearly 26 consecutive years in the top flight, but mediocrity has been Aston Villa's only consistent theme in recent years.
The feeling after the 2-1 defeat by Fulham on Saturday was more of familiarity than shock, more of continued misery than knee-jerk anger. It is now extremely difficult to argue Paul Lambert's side are making progress.
By many Villa fans' reckoning, he has until December at the latest to produce a miracle and save his job.
VIDEO: Scroll down to see Paul Lambert's reaction to the Fulham defeat
Heading for the exit? Paul Lambert's three-year plan at Villa Park has showed little sign of success so far +15
Heading for the exit? Paul Lambert's three-year plan at Villa Park has showed little sign of success so far
Defining moment: Fulham striker Hugo Rodallega (far right) heads home their winner at Aston Villa in 2-1 victory +15
Defining moment: Fulham striker Hugo Rodallega (far right) heads home their winner at Aston Villa in 2-1 victory
Enlarge  
Not good enough: The defeat was Villa's 10th at home already this season +15
Not good enough: The defeat was Villa's 10th at home already this season
It is in vogue to plead for faith and time in a manager but patience comes with signs of progress. For lack of these signs, Lambert's reign will be over soon, but only after the formalities of a 'three-year plan' are completed. That is, give the man two-and-a-half years. 
Villa should be safe for this term - they may do it with fewer than 40 points. For the first time in their 140-year history they have lost 10 home games in a season. Last term they clocked up nine. Many other managers would have been axed with such a record.
Lambert's young side do not feel at home in the second city, and from front to back show a frantic nervousness you don't expect to see in the Premier League.
 
Lambert: It's a poor goal to concede from our point of view
 
 No place like home: Villa's home form over the past two seasons has been abysmal +15
No place like home: Villa's home form over the past two seasons has been abysmal
No entertainment: The fans do not want to watch cautious, one-dimensional football at Villa Park +15
No entertainment: The fans do not want to watch cautious, one-dimensional football at Villa Park
The high standards inside Villa Park do not help, but the groans represent a frustration present since Martin O'Neill abruptly left five days before the start of the 2010-11 season having attempted to lift Villa from mid-table to fourth with a big kitty.
 
More...
Aston Villa 1-2 Fulham: Late Rodallega header lifts visitors off bottom of the table
Blow for Benteke as Belgian ace is ruled out of World Cup with achilles injury
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Manchester United 4-1 Aston Villa: Rooney scores timely brace as Moyes' boys deliver for under-fire manager
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All the latest Aston Villa news and headlines
Much of the blame has been directed towards the club's quiet, vigilant owner Randy Lerner, the easiest of targets. Fans feel the American has not helped Villa out when they need it most. The opposite is true.
The club cannot offer hefty wages, haven't spent over £8million on a player since 2011 and are forced to buy cheap. This much is true.
But Lerner is attempting to make Villa sustainable, self-sufficient, and more importantly, is not rewarding failure with cash. An old-fashioned yet commendable way of running a football club. In today's age of quick fixes, this was never going to sit well.
Criticism should be reserved. Recent accounts show how the American waived £90.1m of loans to keep the club moving along, a price to pay for his monetary faith in O'Neill between 2006 and 2010.
No conviction: Villa's away form has been mid-table standard, but when the onus is on them they struggle +15
No conviction: Villa's away form has been mid-table standard, but when the onus is on them they struggle
In the chair: The club's owner Randy Lerner (left) has come under criticism from the Villa faithful +15
In the chair: The club's owner Randy Lerner (left) has come under criticism from the Villa faithful
With £120m spent in four years, huge wage bills and no Champions League football to show for it during O'Neill's tenure (they were five points clear of Arsenal in March 2009 with a game in hand) Villa are still suffering from a big swing and an even bigger miss.
NO HOME COMFORTS
Villa have lost 10 home games in a season for the first time in their 140-year history
The accounts also indicate that if Villa were to be relegated, huge financial trouble could be just around the corner. Depending on which side you are on, this either justifies Lerner's budget cuts, or represents the huge risk he is taking.
CEO Paul Faulkner has also taken some hefty criticism, but that comes with the territory being the club's only spokesman on the board when the discontent from the stands reaches a crescendo. 
Whichever view you take, faith should be put in Lerner to rebuild the team with investment when this period of recovery is over. That time will come, but the right manager is needed.
Kitty: Martin O'Neill spent £120million attempting to get Villa into the Champions League +15
Kitty: Martin O'Neill spent £120million attempting to get Villa into the Champions League
Bottled: Villa's best chance came in 2009, but they fell away despite a healthy advantage over Arsenal +15
Bottled: Villa's best chance came in 2009, but they fell away despite a healthy advantage over Arsenal
For the fans, the belief in Lambert has deteriorated. For every hit signing there have been two misses, somewhat forgiven on such a budget. But his tactics are glaringly deficient.
The away form should be of no concern. Sitting 10th in the travelling table this term and eighth last, Villa are almost entertaining outside Birmingham.
They use the ball in short bursts, moving at speed and hitting hard. But no team built a good season on away form alone, just ask Manchester United.
At home is where Lambert shows himself up. The Scot shows little variation in tactics from home and away, and his side look stumped when the ball is at their feet and the onus is on building an attack rather than counter attacking.
One step forward, two back: Lambert brought in Benteke, but for every hit signing there have been two misses +15
One step forward, two back: Lambert brought in Benteke, but for every hit signing there have been two misses
Back then: Lambert had a fantastic end to last season, but Benteke carried the team more than once +15
Back then: Lambert had a fantastic end to last season, but Benteke carried the team more than once
The result is bundles of possession but no edge. Side-to-side, a phobia of the final third and a fondness for the easy option, just what the fans don't want to see.
The shoestring budget excuse cannot constantly be used to explain away this tactical incapability.
Lambert spent £6.1m on Libor Kozak in the summer, a decent yet limited forward at a time Villa were crying out for creativity. They have suffered without it.
You can can count on one hand how many times they have outplayed their visitors in the last two seasons. The backbone is there; Brad Guzan, Ron Vlaar, Fabian Delph and the powerful, if sometimes hit-and-miss, Christian Benteke. But the belief, man-management and quality of those surrounding it is not.
 

 

 

I think his got another season if its the same gotta get rid can't keep being down the bottom only so long u can get away with it. Don't hear from the owner in fact don't see him where does he wanna take us

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Mat Kendrick is pretty critical now too. At least Lambert can always rely on good ol' James Nursey though:

@issassin i still think #AVFC have made some progress this yr but likely to be offset in run-in after loss of Benteke plus other injuries

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Lambert lost the sway of the fans after the Palace defeat. I think he's had a poor season. After 3 poor windows. If he stays....which I think he will, he needs a good summer and some proper backing.

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Mat Kendrick is pretty critical now too. At least Lambert can always rely on good ol' James Nursey though:

 

@issassin i still think #AVFC have made some progress this yr but likely to be offset in run-in after loss of Benteke plus other injuries

 

 

Yep Matt has got a bit fed up. Says a club like Villa should be able to beat Fulham even with a few injuries. If Villa stay up given that we have now reduced our wage bill and with all that sky money coming, Lambert should be give substancial funds to invest in players and if not much improvement is made next season then sack him.

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If Lambert is provided with a decent wedge in the summer(I'm talking £25-30 million) and able to bring in 3-4 decent players on decent wages and we are still not improving then yes he deserves all the criticism.

I just think we shouldn't expect more from a manager with this budget.

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Surprisingly for the Mail, that was a decent, if sombre read.

Shame some on here didn't even bother to read it, focusing instead on the paper it emanates from.

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I just think we shouldn't expect more from a manager with this budget.

I just can't agree with that at all.

Why 5 of the 7 teams below us have outspent us this season. Shouldn't they expect their teams to be above us?

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I just think we shouldn't expect more from a manager with this budget.

I just can't agree with that at all.

Why 5 of the 7 teams below us have outspent us this season. Shouldn't they expect their teams to be above us?

Most of them did expect that which is why they all sacked the managers who were clearly underperforming.

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I just think we shouldn't expect more from a manager with this budget.

I just can't agree with that at all.
Why 5 of the 7 teams below us have outspent us this season. Shouldn't they expect their teams to be above us?

Other managers performing poorly doesn't somehow make what we've had the best we could expect.

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I'm still a Lambert fan and look forward to what he might do in the summer but I understand why others are not.

It's not about being a Lambert fan. I neither think he's doing a good or bad job at the moment. He certainly shouldn't be free from criticism either, some of the football has been dire. I just think it's very short sighted to think he should be doing better and sacking him would be the best thing for the club.

I think the criticism should be aimed squarely at Lerner and his board.

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If Lambert isn't 'free from criticism', then why should the criticism be aimed 'solely at Lerner and the board'?

Because the problems at this clubs were there before Lambert was.

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