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Lambert calm after frustrating loss
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert claimed after his side's 2-1 home defeat to Newcastle that the contest had been "a bad one to lose" - but he is not about to get carried away over how things are shaping up at this early stage of the season.
The result means Villa have now lost three Barclays Premier League games in a row since beginning their top-flight campaign so impressively by winning 3-1 at Arsenal, with the other reverses coming at Chelsea and at home against Liverpool.
Lambert has no doubt the four fixtures have made for a tough start and it seems he may well have regarded Saturday's meeting with the Magpies at Villa Park as a particularly important opportunity to pick up points.
As it turned out, a 73rd-minute strike from substitute Yoan Gouffran ensured Newcastle took all three, the forward reacting after Brad Guzan had parried a shot from the impressive Hatem Ben Arfa, whose close-range 18th-minute opener had been cancelled out by Christian Benteke's 67th-minute headed equaliser.
Following the final whistle, Lambert - whose side are currently 16th in the table, two points better off than bottom-placed Sunderland - said: "The start we have had has been hard, but this was a bad one to lose.
"But if you look at all the results, there have been plenty of draws, and we are only four games into the season.
"There is a long, long way to go."
In their past 40 home league games, stretching back to 2011-12, Villa have won only nine times and some of the club's fans voiced their discontent from the stands with boos on Saturday.
Asked about that, Lambert, who took charge of the midlands outfit in the summer of 2012, stressed he would never be critical of the supporters after the backing they have given him, and also emphasised that his players need to be galvanised rather than inhibited by playing at home.
"I'm not one for excuses," said the Scot, who confirmed Villa defender Jores Okore had sustained what looked like a knee injury during the Newcastle game.
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