Lambert urging swift response to heavy defeats
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert insists there is no point dwelling on his side's nightmare start to the festive period as they aim to get back on track in their crucial home clash against fellow strugglers Wigan.
Villa were comprehensively brushed aside 8-0 at Chelsea last weekend - their biggest-ever defeat in the Barclays Premier League era - before being outplayed 4-0 at home by Tottenham on Boxing Day.
The double whammy, which came after a solid six-match unbeaten run that included a 3-1 win at Liverpool, leaves Villa in 19th place in the table at the halfway stage of the season, just three points above Saturday's opponents Wigan, who currently occupy the final relegation spot.
But Lambert, as positive as ever, insists the only way is forward and not back.
"I think I have always said that even when you win you let it go as quick as you can. You have to get it out of your system - the two defeats - as best we can," he said.
"If someone had said you'd take three points from Liverpool, Chelsea and Tottenham I think everyone would bite your hand off.
"But because you've been smacked twice everyone thinks 'oh, here we go' but I can't let two games distract from what we are trying to build here."
Lambert added: "You have to respond. There's no point in going out there and feeling sorry for yourself given the amount of people who come and watch us.
"We have to to try to rectify it and that's what we'll do. We are hurt like anyone else but you try not to beat yourself up about it."
The midlands outfit have undoubtedly struggled due to injury this season, with defender Nathan Baker the latest to enter the treatment room after he was forced off with a hamstring problem just before half-time against Spurs.
Baker joins captain Ron Vlaar (calf), Gabriel Agbonlahor (thigh), Charles N'Zogbia (knee), Darren Bent (hamstring), Richard Dunne (groin) and Andreas Weimann (calf) on the sidelines.
Wigan head to Villa Park with manager Roberto Martinez claiming he is facing his own window of uncertainty.
The Latics will haul their way out of the bottom three at Villa's expense if they manage to end their run of six matches without a win.
Yet even victory against a team that has conceded 12 times in its last two games won't have Martinez sleeping easily as the transfer window is looming.
And whilst Martinez has already started the process of bringing in new players - Angelo Henriquez on loan from Manchester United and Honduran midfielder Roger Espinoza - others are being linked with moves elsewhere, namely goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi and striker Franco di Santo.
"I don't agree with the window being open whilst you are playing official games," said Martinez.
"Sometimes we forget about the human part of the footballer.
"Everybody wants to hear what the next step in their career is. But that can become very disrespectful to the team and the fans when you are playing games.
"Victor Moses played against Chelsea in the opening game and their fans were singing 'we'll see you next week'. That is how incredible this situation is.
"Players should be allowed to think about their careers and their next move at the right time.
"In our case, these next five or six matches could be the most important five or six games in the club's history."
Di Santo is in line to return to Martinez's line-up, although the game might come too soon for hamstring injury victim Ivan Ramis