Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert is adamant his side can stay in the Premier league insisting “we’ll be fine” despite Villa fans displaying their anger through a ‘Lambert Out’ banner last night.
Villa lost 2-0 against Hull City in what was without doubt the most important game of the season for Lambert’s side, but you would be forgiven for thinking it wasn’t considering the dismal display.
Yet another lacklustre and gutless performance has left the Villains in the bottom three - which is surprising how long it has taken considering their horrific performances all season.
Lambert said: “I’ve told them we’ve got 13 cup finals and we have to win these cup finals that are coming our way.
“I still believe 100% that we’ll be fine. We have got good players in the dressing room who I still believe in.”
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However, the problem may not be Lambert believing in the players, it may be the other way round. The Villa boss seems to be a broken man during every press conference and looks to have given up - much like the players.
‘We’re too good to stay up’
Lambert dropped Christian Benteke for the second consecutive game as well as benching the ineffective Tom Cleverley at the KC Stadium last night. This left an attacking four of Scott Sinclair, Carles Gil, Andreas Weimann and Gabriel Agbonlahor - a quick and tricky forward line that should cause problems.
However, Alex Bruce, Michael Dawson and Paul McShane - clearly not the quickest defenders on the planet - had absolutely no issues handling the Villa front line as they cruised to a vital three points for Steve Bruce’s side.
Benteke was introduced at half-time replacing Weimann but once again the Belgian struggled to have any impact on the game, much to the frustration of the travelling fans.
In fairness to the big striker, he won key headers resulting in the ball ending up in the penalty area. However, Villa had absolutely no desire to push forward or get bodies in the box seemingly settling for another disappointing defeat.
“We’ve been trying to play the game in the right way but now we have to win ugly,” said Lambert after the defeat.
The fans deserve better
Villa fans are completely aware that they do not have some sort of right to stay in the Premier League because they have not been relegated since its inception.
However, the Villa faithful deserve better. They are supporting what used to be one of the biggest clubs in the country. Before the big money owners inserted themselves into English football, the Claret and Blues were a respected side from a big club.
How times have changed.
Villa have won 139 points from 139 Premier League games since the start of 2011/12 - one point per game for three and a half years. Add in the amount of goals scored in that time and the club really has hit rock bottom.
At the end of January, Villa chief executive Tom Fox said Lambert had the full backing of Randy Lerner and the club claiming sacking him mid-season would be like “flipping a coin”.
"When things aren't going well, fans bay for that type of blood," Fox said. “That's not the way that I or the owner are going to make a decision. It's a false narrative."
However, maybe this ‘false narrative’ needs to be addressed. If Villa continue the way they are, fans will be watching Championship football next season and it looks like they would even struggle at that level.
Lerner put the club up for sale last year but without any interested buyers, the American was forced to keep the club he so clearly wants out of.
If Lerner can sell, he should do so. Villa has absolutely no projections or aspirations for the future - a daunting thought for the Holte End faithful. With chants of ‘we are going down’ and ‘what the f****** hell is this’ from the Villa fans last night, the situation needs to be resolved immediately.
Villa face Leicester on Sunday in the FA Cup - the last thing they need is further games to worry about - before hosting Stoke next week in the league.
Lambert’s cup final quote is a cliché but it is completely accurate. Villa need to stand up and be counted or the club will go into turmoil. The future is not looking bright for the Villains and the next few months are vital for the club's future.
If Lambert was to resign, as he should, then who would actually want to take control of this sinking ship?