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Lambert: Give Attacking Players Freedom


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Lambert needs the claret and blues to create more chances on his home debut against Everton than they did in last weekend’s opening-day defeat at West Ham.

The manager has encouraged his creative players to be bolder in the final third – and reassured them they will not be criticised for losing the ball if they are trying to make things happen.

Darren Bent was isolated in last Saturday’s setback at Upton Park and Lambert admits it is his responsibility to improve the supply lines from the likes of Charles N’Zogbia, Stephen Ireland and Brett Holman.

“I don’t curtail any creative player,” he said. “The team we had on the pitch on Saturday I thought might have got us a goal or two but it never materialised.

“Everybody has got to work together. I’m not a ‘blame an individual’ person. We never did it as a team.

“As for Darren, you need everything, whether it is outside the box or inside the box. I know that’s his trademark – he’s a brilliant finisher, that’s for sure. It’s up to us to get that service to him and try to get him into the positions to score.

“I just think with Darren, every time the ball goes into the box, you think something is going to happen. It’s up to us to try to get him into the areas where he can make it happen.”

Lambert does not believe his flair players are suffering a crisis of confidence from last season – but he does acknowledge they need to be more adventurous in taking on opposition defences.

“I’d like to think that there’s not a hangover from last year,” he said. “I wasn’t part of what happened last year, so I never really go into that.

“It’s new so I’ve just got to try and get the best out of people like that and get them to perform. They’re really talented players but you’ve got to have an end product to your game and on Saturday they never had that.

“I never criticise somebody for making a mistake, especially in the last third of the pitch, because it’s the hardest thing to do.

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“So I don’t have a problem with people trying to take people on and making things happen. It’s when we don’t do it then, with the talent they’ve got, that’s a problem.

“Regarding freedom, they’ve got carte blanche to make things happen in the last third of the pitch.”

Read More http://www.birminghammail.net/birmingham-sport/aston-villa-fc/aston-villa-news/2012/08/25/aston-villa-paul-lambert-hopes-giving-players-freedom-will-unlock-scoring-potential-97319-31694590/2/#ixzz24Xff0J9x

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Similar stuff in the Guardian today. Basically Lambert still has to solve last season's problem - how to get Bent scoring without Young and Downing supplying a stream of crosses. It may be that Bent himself is part of the problem. It was so easy for him to score with those two on the wings, maybe he hasn't thought about how he plays with different team mates playing with different styles and skills?

Paul Lambert is eager for Aston Villa to get creative against Everton

• Villa manager wants better service for Darren Bent

• 'It's up to us to get him into the positions to score'

Stuart James

guardian.co.uk, Friday 24 August 2012 22.00 BST

There were some interesting numbers for Aston Villa to analyse at Upton Park last Saturday. Paul Lambert's side made 557 passes, which is more than Villa managed in all but one of their Premier League games last season, and they enjoyed an extremely healthy 66% of possession. The bad news, however, was that Villa suffered a 1-0 defeat at the Premier League newcomers West Ham during which their £24m striker touched the ball just once in the West Ham penalty area and only 19 times in total. It is little wonder Darren Bent looked frustrated.

Of all the outfield players that completed 90 minutes during the opening weekend of the Premier League season, only Reading's Adam Le Fondre saw as little of the ball as Bent. Le Fondre, however, could still reflect on a satisfactory afternoon, after he converted a last-minute penalty to mark his Premier League debut with a goal and earn Reading a point against Stoke City. There was no such consolation for Bent at the end of a game where he had been little more than a spectator.

"I can understand the frustration because I was frustrated myself," said Lambert, the Villa manager, when asked about the lack of service to Bent. "From back to middle we did fine. But you can't have that much of the ball and not create a chance. And that is something I have to rectify."

Centre-forwards, by their very nature, are likely to see less of the ball than most of their team-mates and Bent is certainly not the sort of striker to drop deep and go looking for it in the same way that Wayne Rooney might do for Manchester United. He is a goal poacher, a player that comes alive in and around the penalty area and thrives on the sort of service that Stewart Downing and Ashley Young provided when he joined from Sunderland a little more than 18 months ago.

"Darren's a brilliant finisher, that's for sure," Lambert said. "It's up to us to get that service to him and try to get him into the positions to score. I just think with Darren, every time the ball goes into the box, you think something is going to happen. It's up to us to try to get him into the areas where he can make it happen."

The problem for Bent, and Villa for that matter, is that since Downing and Young departed last summer, the supply line has run dry. Downing and Young scored or created 31 Premier League goals between them in their final season at the Midlands club.

Stephen Ireland and Charles N'Zogbia, arguably the two most creative players in Villa's current squad, set up seven and scored three between them last season. Although the negative tactics under Alex McLeish hardly helped, the truth is that Ireland and N'Zogbia have flattered to deceive in Villa shirts up until now.

Brett Holman was brought in this summer to add some fresh impetus but it would be fair to say that one of Lambert's biggest challenges in the short term is to get more out of Ireland and N'Zogbia. "I'd like to think that there's not a hangover [with those two] from last year," Lambert said. "It's new, so I've just got to try and get the best out of people like that and try to get them to perform. They're really talented players but you've got to have an end product to your game and on Saturday they never had that."

At least Bent, whose side face Everton at Villa Park on Saturday, can take some encouragement from the manager's determination to give Villa's more attack-minded players a platform to thrive. "I don't have a problem with people trying to take people on and making things happen," Lambert said.

"It's when we don't do it then, with the talent they've got, that's a problem. Regarding freedom, they've got carte blanche to make things happen in the last third of the pitch."

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It is hard to supply Bent without Young and Downing although most of the blame lies with Lambert. He left Bent isolated infront of a narrow 5 man midfield and he also played a centre back at full back and cut off any width from the left. we were relying on Lowton to put balls in and nobody else.

I hope tactically Lambert gets it right against Everton because at Upton Park Lambert really **** it up and played in to West Hams hands.

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Heard this all last week too. And then we played like a toothless puppy and attacked less than last season.

Not all Lambert's fault that, we have no attacking threat playing without the likes of Young/Downing.

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All this talk about Darren Bent we need to feed him e.t.c

Were such a 1 man team wouldn't it be nice to get goals from other areas of the pitch?

We don't have enough individual talent we cant rely on Darren Bent every game ffs

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