Manchester United v Aston Villa: Paul Lambert hopeful Villa can spoil Old Trafford title party

United can secure the league with victory tonight

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The Independent Football

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes the party-like atmosphere at Old Trafford in anticipation of Manchester United's 20th league title could encourage his side to spoil the celebrations.

Villa travel north with just three points separating them and Wigan in the drop zone, and is not writing off tonight's match as a defeat.

"In a roundabout way [the party atmosphere] can [help us]," said Lambert. "Put it this way I don't want them to win it against us, because I want us to try and win ourselves.

"We're playing well enough, we're on a good bit of form at the moment and we're going into a game on Monday where it's going to be tough and no-one expects anything from us but we'll certainly go there to try to win it."

"I've never deviated from that. Any games that we've played in we've gone to try and win, but you also know that you've got to respect the opposition you're playing against. Manchester United are the best team in the country."

Lambert has always been a keen admirer of Sir Alex Ferguson, and even remembered how his fellow Scot allowed him to watch United train earlier in his fledgling managerial career.

"When I was out of work I wanted to go and see other teams train. It was very good. I just went to look at them. Very kindly Sir Alex let me watch it and it was great.

"He's always been great with me the times I've spoken to him. He's the best manager around."

Despite having several rocky patches throughout the season after a largely successful time at Norwich City, Lambert has praised the Villa supporters for sticking by the team. His side have won three of the last five games, but are still finding themselves having to rely on other clubs to trip up as well as keeping up momentum on and off the pitch with his own side.

"The fans are not on our tails at all. We don't look like a team which is really under threat. We play with a bit of freedom which we always allow the lads to go and do.

"We don't want to go down, that's for sure. We have to fight for everything to stay in the league. That's the main thing, it's to stay in the league. I'm always positive over it and our job is to keep this club in the league and keep building it."