Aston Villa v Manchester United: Belief in youngsters is now paying off for Paul Lambert, claims David Moyes

Lambert narrowly avoided relegation last season but they are just two spots off United in 11th space this campaign

Manchester United manager David Moyes believes Paul Lambert is now being rewarded for his bold gamble in blooding so many youngsters in his first season as Aston Villa boss.

Asked to slash the Villa Park wage bill by owner Randy Lerner, it looked for a long period last term as though Lambert would take them sliding into the Championship.

A desperate Christmas saw them concede 15 goals and score none in three games, and the following month they were knocked out of the Capital One Cup semi-finals by League Two Bradford.

Yet, somehow, Lambert managed to stabilise the situation. Losing just five of their last 14 games last term, Villa secured their top-flight status with a game to spare.

This campaign the improvement has continued.

And, while Cristian Benteke has not hit the form of 12 months ago, Villa host United on Sunday just two places and three points behind the ailing Barclays Premier League champions.

For that, Moyes feels Lambert deserves plenty of credit.

"Paul Lambert introduced a lot of young players in his first year or so," the Scot said. "That was always going to be a hard task for him.

"At times young players can make mistakes or not be as consistent as you would like.

"Paul has got through the worst of that. It was a brave decision to do it and he has some exciting players now."

Moyes and Lambert share a bond through both spending time at Celtic during their playing days.

Yet any personal friendship has to be cast aside as United seek to avoid suffering a third successive Premier League defeat following shock losses to Everton and Newcastle.

The positive comes from the knowledge Villa Park has been one of the Red Devils' most productive venues of the Premier League era.

They have won 11 and drawn six of their 17 encounters at the stadium since the infamous 'you'll never win anything with kids' visit in 1995, when United were beaten 3-1.

The intervening period also includes some famous cup triumphs, both against Villa and in FA Cup semi-finals, including one of the most famous of all.

"I have been told Villa has been a great venue for United," Moyes said.

"My memory goes back to Ryan Giggs' goal against Arsenal. That was one of my great memories of Villa Park.

"I have always enjoyed going there.

"We will go there and try and pick up the league form."

Rather than address talk of whether United still have a chance of retaining their title, or even if they can finish in the top four, Moyes is taking a blinkered view of the next few weeks.

He knows results must be pieced together, and confidence gained from the unbeaten run United were on before their world started to collapse.

"We see this game as an opportunity," Moyes said. "There is a long way to go in league, but we can only take one game at a time.

"Football is like that. Let's see what happens and maybe then we can talk about it later in the season.

"At moment we can't because we are too far away. We want to get closer and we will do everything we possibly can to do that."

Moyes must plot the path without influence of Golden Boot winner Robin van Persie, who will be out for four weeks with a thigh strain, and Michael Carrick, who is still a fortnight away from recovering from an Achilles problem that has already ruled him out for a month.

PA

Arts & Entertainment
Madonna in her music video for 'Like A Virgin'
music... and other misheard song lyrics
News
Waitrose will be bringing in more manned tills
newsOverheard in Waitrose: documenting the chatter in 'Britain's poshest supermarket'
News
Russia's President Vladimir Putin gives his annual televised question-and-answer session
peopleBizarre TV claim
News
The energy drink MosKa was banned for containing a heavy dose of the popular erectile dysfunction Levitra
news
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Australia's Dylan Tombides competes for the ball with Adal Matar of Kuwait during the AFC U-22 Championship Group C match in January
sportDylan Tombides was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011
Arts & Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'
tv
News
Posted at the end of March, this tweeted photo was a week off the end of their Broadway shows
people
Arts & Entertainment
tvIt might all be getting a bit much, but this is still the some of the finest TV ever made, says Grace Dent
News
peopleStar to remain in hospital for up to 27 days to get over allergic reaction
Arts & Entertainment
Comedian Lenny Henry is calling for more regulation to support ethnic actors on TV
tvActor and comedian leads campaign against 'lack of diversity' in British television
Caption competition
Caption competition
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit