Aston Villa v Liverpool preview: Our players aren't big enough to be dirty, says Paul Lambert as he defends Villa's place at bottom of fair play table


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The Independent Football

Paul Lambert insists Aston Villa are not a dirty side despite being bottom of the fair play table ahead of Sunday's Barclays Premier League clash with Liverpool at Villa Park.

Relegation-threatened Villa have accumulated 64 bookings and two red cards during the current campaign. Midfielder Fabian Delph became the first Premier League player to have to serve a two game ban for 10 bookings and right-back Matt Lowton is one yellow card away from facing the same punishment.

He said: "I'm a little bit surprised we are bottom (of the fair play table). Because we're a young side, sometimes our enthusiasm overrides things.

"If the referee decides to wave the yellow card, you have to run with it.

"Are Villa a dirty side? Are you kidding. We've got one player over six feet tall. The rest are three feet, nine inches!

"We are not the biggest team but we will certainly stand up to things."

Lambert will not attempt to try and change Lowton's approach and has been delighted with his overall form.

He said: "Matty will get a couple of games (suspension) if he gets booked but he has been excellent for us.

"He started the season brilliantly, had a little dip along with everyone else, and over the last few months he has been back to what he was doing at the start.

"You can't curtail somebody's approach. That's the way he plays the game so you can't curtail it.

"You don't want him missing through a ban but I'd rather him make a challenge than not and if he has to take the consequences, he has to take it.

"We've other people there to come back in if that happens."

Lambert is on a similar mission to Brendan Rodgers at Liverpool in trying to rebuild Villa over the next few years.

"Liverpool are a massive club. I know Brendan really well and have a lot of time for him," he said.

"We came through the Championship together and had some great battles at Norwich and Swansea when we were there.

"Brendan has said, with his team, it will take three or four years to get where he wants to get it.

"It won't be any different from here because we're trying to build certain things.

"You don't get time in football. But we want to try and change something and we are getting there, and I think the crowd are right behind it.

"They can see what is happening. The game is virtually sold out on Sunday so they are right with us.

"We can only do what we can do here and Liverpool will do what they are going to do."

Villa will be attempting to win three league games in a row for the first time since the tail-end of the Martin O'Neill era in April 2010. Successive wins over Reading and QPR have given them a fighting chance of staying up.

Lambert said: "When someone said about Villa not having back-to-back wins in two years until we beat QPR, that's extraordinary for a club like this.

"Someone has told me if we win a third one in a row, it will be the first time since 2009-2010 that Villa have done that. It's a long time so you may as well go and try and achieve it."