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Lambert eyes Fulham predicament

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07 Dec 2013 09:31:57

Lambert eyes Fulham predicament

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes Fulham are providing the perfect example that experience is no guarantee against the threat of relegation.

On Sunday, Villa face a Fulham side on a run of seven straight defeats in all competitions, the sixth of which led to the sacking of manager Martin Jol.

Although assistant Rene Meulensteen was immediately promoted into the hot seat, the Dutchman was unable to prevent the Cottagers suffering a 2-1 home loss to Spurs on Wednesday.

With the club languishing in the relegation zone, Lambert knows from his experience with Villa last season what a painful place it can be, and that was with a young squad finding their feet in the top flight.

"People kept saying to me last year when we were in the bottom three we had no experience," said Lambert.

"Well, Fulham is one of the most experienced squads and yet they are in the bottom three, so it's funny how people can turn things around.

"So it can happen, and it doesn't matter if you are experienced or you are a top player, if you don't perform that's what can happen."

Given Meulensteen has had more time to prepare for Sunday's game, Lambert is naturally hoping the Cottagers fail to find the spur that can often materialise with the appointment of a new manager.

"Obviously you don't like to see any manager lose their job because I know how hard it is," added Lambert.

"And it's still the same group of players who were under Martin.

"Those that played against Tottenham haven't changed from those that played at West Ham (in a 3-0 defeat last Saturday that cost Jol his job).

"But when you change a manager you just don't know what is going to happen. A new manager coming in can give you a little bit of a lift.

"I don't know why but some teams react, get a kick on, and that's what might happen with Rene. We'll see what happens on Sunday."

Lambert can only hope the game at Craven Cottage will prove a disadvantage for Meulensteen and Fulham.

"Obviously they're not going to like being in the position they are in, as we didn't when we were in it last year. It's not nice," said Lambert.

"And sometimes when you are at home the pressure is a lot more than when you are away from home."

For the game Lambert faces defensive issues as captain Ron Vlaar is doubtful with a calf injury along with Antonio Luna who has a groin problem.

Lambert must also decide whether to recall Christian Benteke to the starting line-up given fellow strikers Gabriel Agbonlahor and Libor Kozak both scored in Wednesday's 3-2 win at Southampton.


PA

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