Paul Lambert says he understands the Aston Villa fans’ frustration which ultimately led to his sacking last night.
The Scot said in a statement released through the League Managers’ Association: “I pay tribute to the supporters who are among the most passionate I have ever encountered. They rightly hold huge expectations for their beloved football club and I sincerely hope they are rewarded with the success they deserve.”
Lambert added: “I completely understand their frustrations and always shared their view that the football club is too big not to be competing at the top end of the table. I hope that can happen.”
Villa dropped into the relegation zone after their 2-0 defeat at Hull on Tuesday with some fans holding a ‘Lambert Out’ banner in protest about the direction of the club. However, in fairness to Lambert, he was working on an extremely tight budget and was under instructions from the owner to build for the future.
“My initial remit was to conduct a massive overhaul of the playing squad, lower the overall wage structure of the playing staff and achieve this whilst keeping the club in the Barclays Premier League,” Lambert added.
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“There was also a concerted effort to purchase and develop younger players who would provide a solid footing for the football club to move forward and enhance the value of the playing squad in the future.”
The 45-year-old signed a four-year deal in September and a reported £3million pay-off was awarded to Lambert following his dismissal. Clearly the contract extension was a statement that Villa and Lambert were happy with each other. However, largely down to a lack of investment, Lambert struggled in the role.
“I have never stepped away from hard work and I put my heart and soul into the job from my first day until my last,” said the ex-Villa boss.
Lambert averaged less than one point per game during his time at Villa and this season has been tough for the Claret and Blue faithful. Their 12 league goals from 25 games is the lowest in Premier League history.
Lambert said: “When I came on board the club’s owner, Randy Lerner, warned me that I was embarking on the toughest challenge of my working like and he was not wrong.
“You never stop learning in football management and I certainly believe the invaluable experience from my time as Villa manager will prove hugely beneficial in the next stage of my managerial career.”