Lambert the lamb still learning his trade at Aston Villa

You know, I really don't know what to write about the feelings and emotions connected with Aston Villa at the moment. One thing I think we have to do though, especially after the past three results, is acknowledge what happened.

More importantly, the manager also has to acknowledge what has happened, because it is ultimately down to him, but forget the words, look for actions.


There also has to be acceptance that this cant go on. If you're at work and you do something wrong you get a warning, there is a process you have to go through. Truth is, Paul Lambert knows he has been warned now after supporters started leaving when the second goal went in on Saturday and the boos at the end of each half.

Walking out early

There was also no singing for Lambert towards the end of the Wigan game and despite his nice words about the supporters in his post match interviews and no doubt more to come over the next few days, he has lost something this Christmas that he'll maybe never be able to get back.

But the kicker is, he's close to getting it right. But before I get to why I think he is close, I'm going to make another request that we stop slagging off individual players. Almost everyone has taken some abuse the past few days and I'm not convinced it's warranted and I'm absolutely certain that it doesn't do any good.

I'm not a fan of slagging off players and while I don't mind commenting on players and suggesting they are not taking the time to think or they are getting played out of position, I don't slag them off (even if I'm getting close to just giving up on Stephen Ireland and really laying in to him), it doesn't serve any positive purpose.

The reason why we have to stop slagging off players is also the reason why I can see Paul Lambert is actually close and ironically, it's also the same reason why we are better than 17th.

Still learning his trade

But before I begin, we should not forget that we've taken a big gamble on a manager that started his career in management in 2005 and prior to joining us had a Premier League win record of just 31.58%.

He was a big gamble, but the options were very limited. They were limited because our CEO wanted someone with Premier League experience, which in itself is madness, but also another post, but also a reason why we find ourselves where we are.

We have to accept that we've got someone that is still learning. Lambert is, to coin a phrase, a lamb.

But, we are close

So let me explain why I think we are close and why we have to have a little hope that our manager figures it out. It all boils down to continuity, football and formation and let me first say that playing three at the back isn't as mad as it may seem, but in the grand scheme of things and in particular, this context, it's absolute madness and it has to stop.

You don't change the formation during a season from something that was slowly starting to look better, to something that relies on wing backs having a great deal of experience. You simply don't.

You change it with ten minutes to go when you are chasing a game, but you don't make players like Herd (a midfielder), Lowton (a right back) and Clark play it with two wings backs like Bennett and Lichaj and I mean no offence to Lichaj and Bennett. It isn't their natural position either to play where they are asking to get played and they're looking lost.

Then you go into midfield. I don't need to go into detail, you don't need to be a football genius to see how we are getting ripped apart in the middle of the park because we've got three players in there that have also never played this way and are playing like nobody has actually told them what their responsibilities are.

The players we have are better than 17th if played to their strengths and with the football that Lambert has brought in. That is why change is coming.

Change to formation is coming

And I'm convinced this will come to an end, because our manager will have learnt from it against Wigan, especially when he changed it to four at the back and we started to look better.

It will go to a back four and we'll start to play a game with four at the back, because every player in the Aston Villa squad grew up playing four at the back. When we were playing with four at the back, we had started to look like things were getting better.

But we do need an older head or two on the pitch and I think this will be rectified in January and when I talk about an older head, I don't just mean age, I mean experience and quality, and for me, we have to go and bring in someone of real proven quality, not the Championship or a younger player from the Dutch or German leagues.

Relegation is a possibility

I say all this because for the last two seasons I've happily written that we will not go down because there were three other clubs that deserved it and despite all the talk from Lambert that we don't go down (McLeish was saying the exact same things when he was managing The Clowns), as of today, I don't share his optimism.

There is every chance we wont, but right now we are one of the three that will go down unless things dont start to get better very soon and that all rests with Lambert. Lambert has to change what he is doing.

And this is where I'm leaving the post, because I've told the manager to change and because I don't like thinking or talking about relegation, so I'll take this sentence to wish you all a very happy new year.