Classy Lambert deserves more credit

Monday 23rd September 2013 7:45

Paul Lambert congratulates his players after Norwich win

Paul Lambert congratulates his players after Norwich win

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Aston Villa FanZoner Tom Davis eyes progress at Villa Park and finds parallels between Paul Lambert and ousted Sunderland boss Paolo Di Canio.

So there we have it: our first clean sheet for 26 games and it sure was a long time coming!

If it was going to come, it was always going to be down to some sublime solo efforts from the rejuvenated Brad Guzan in between the sticks. He's a class act and easily one of the best in the league.

In truth, the defensive work wasn't any different - certainly not any better - than the previous 26 attempts. Norwich had chances to score and against any other keeper would have easily won it.

We have performed better in matches and still taken nothing from the game, nevertheless a win is a win and you will take the three points however it comes.

Sometimes you can do with a scrappy win just to steady the ship and after the disappointing week with the Newcastle defeat and long-term injury to Jores Okore, this was just the tonic.

Even with the poor defensive record under Paul Lambert, he's still always had the support of the fans in what he is doing, and as is so often noted in this current regime, time and patience is the key.

I was at The Hawthorns on Saturday to witness West Brom's mauling of a hapless Sunderland side that looked so incredibly disjointed throughout, from the players right down to the manager.

I was also at Paolo Di Canio's final press conference as he explained his end-of-match reactions in front of the away fans and reflected on yet another defeat that left them at the foot of the table.

But he did so in mellow manner, which was unusual for him. He seemed defeatist, reiterating to the room several times the fact that he has brought in 14 new players who have yet to gel into the side.

However, we're five games in with 9 of those 14 having more or less completed full pre-seasons with him having joined before the middle of July.

Five games in and he lost 3-0 with seven of those new arrivals taking part. So whether it was an excuse or a desperate plea to keep him from the sack, it didn't appear to work.

Flip back to last season and after five games we had just lost 4-1 on the road to Southampton with - like Sunderland - seven of our new signings featuring (eight if you were to include Guzan re-joining).

Conversely, Lambert dismissed the fact he had a team of young and new players after the game and instead of highlighting his new squad he simply stated he 'won't have a problem of picking them up.'

Why? Because he knew his work at the club would eventually come good.

When Di Canio explained how his players trust in him and his regime he didn't say it with any real conviction nor did he ever really seem to believe it himself, and that is the difference.

Lambert doesn't get enough credit from the media for the change he has made in this team that has taken us from a withered crop of over-paid wasters to a team that has young, exciting players.

Let's be honest, the clean sheet on Saturday won't be the catalyst for a long stretch without conceding but - whether it was impressive or not - it does represent progress and that's all you can look for.

You can follow Tom on Twitter at @tomdav1991 - and don't forget to follow @FanZone too!

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