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Monday 20th January 2014 15:33

Paul Lambert: Saw his side produce their best display yet

Paul Lambert: Saw his side produce their best display yet

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Fanzoner Tom Davis believes the Luis Suarez debate is overshadowing Aston Villa's fine performance and is keeping an open mind over Grant Holt.

"Luis Suarez dived," said almost everyone. Everyone but the majority of pundits and experts, that is.

For me, it is always a telling sign that something is not quite right if it takes umpteen replays from varying camera angels to decipher whether something is a foul or not. Fouls should be easy to spot.

I think the fact those supporting him all had conflicting views over which part of Brad Guzan's body caught him tells its own story. Foot, knee, stomach, ear - there is not one conclusive argument for it.

But annoyingly, as even the start of this piece begins, it has taken the attention away from what was a terrific performance from the side and undoubtedly our best display of the season by far.

We had heart, aggression, a unified midfield (including probably Karim El Ahmadi's strongest and most effective performance for us) and we could have scored more than just the two.

Scoring the second goal was always going to be our biggest downfall as we simply don't know how to hold onto leads like that, especially at the crucial stages of the game either side of the interval.

But except for those 15 minutes in between, we were terrific. Particularly impressive was the reaction following their equaliser when most would have expected us to crumble and end the night in defeat.

It is no surprise that the strong performance came as Christian Benteke scored one and began another, building on that vital bit of confidence found in the previous game against Arsenal.

Perfect timing from our point of view, especially given the doom and gloom surrounding the club following defeat to Sheffield United and the general consensus towards the Grant Holt loan.

For both, it seemed the qualm among fans was the lack of ambition.

Losing to a side fighting relegation in League One doesn't show ambition, especially in a competition that is one of the few available to us that we could actually win. That's inexcusable.

But judgement on Holt is harsh and far too soon. He needs to be given his chance. Granted, it's not the sort of move dreams are made of, but realistically there aren't many other options on our budget.

Lacina Traore - likely to join Everton on loan - is a name that springs to mind but having played with mega-bucks Anzhi Makhachkala and now Monaco, his wages would have been a stumbling block.

Holt on the other hand is here short-term with no transfer fee and a relatively small salary. He has experienced this league whereas any foreign import would have needed time to adjust and settle.

It's a win-win situation for all.

But interestingly that question of ambition at the club has now been raised and it does leave you asking as to what our actual target is in this well-advertised 'long-term project'.

I fail to actually remember anyone at the club stating what the end target is. It would be refreshing to hear Paul Lambert say, 'well, actually, at the end of three years we aim to achieve x,y,z'.

Will he do it? Probably not, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't stick with him. It would, however, make his position at the club far more comfortable if we were all singing from the same hymn sheet.

I'm more confident for the visit of West Brom having seen the developments this week. I think if we are to break our hoodoo at home and create some form we need that confidence - arrogance almost.

That needs to be shared from the fans right through to the players as it's the only way we'll win at Villa Park. If you can't take spirit from a performance like Liverpool, then what can you take it from?

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

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