Lambert believes the progress being made by his crop of young players means they are winning over their critics. The Villa boss has put the accent on youth since splashing out £22million on revamping the squad during the summer. It has not been an easy path with Villa dropping into the bottom three of the Barclays Premier League last month after a demanding run of fixtures which included the two Manchester clubs and Arsenal. But Lambert's faith has never wavered and five points from the last three games - including the weekend 1-1 draw at QPR - has seen Villa climb above the safety line. He said:
"I am delighted with the way things are going. I think the lads have taken some unfair criticism at times.
"But now they are starting to get the praise that maybe they deserve.
"When we first came in, we knew we had to try and change certain things and we've done that.
"We are nowhere near the finished article. That's the big thing, but you keep building and building." Lambert added:
"Some of the football we are playing is very good. You just need results to go your way and the last few games we've done really, really fine.
"We are only a few points off mid-table so we're not a million miles away.
"The young lads have been exceptional since the games with Swindon (in the Capital One Cup) and Sunderland. I couldn't ask for any more from them.
"The only game we've been reallly turned over since then was at Manchester City. In other games we've been in it, and slowly and surely we are starting to get there."
Winger Charles N'Zogbia is expected to resume training this week after a spell on the sidelines with a knee problem.