Paul Lambert challenges Aston Villa players to bounce back quickly from mauling at Chelsea

 

Paul Lambert has challenged his Aston Villa players to bounce back quickly from their 8-0 mauling at Chelsea when they entertain Tottenham on Boxing Day.

Villa's six-game unbeaten run in all competitions was ended in emphatic fashion as they suffered their heaviest defeat in the Barclays Premier League.

It brought back painful memories of another Stamford Bridge mauling - 7-1 during Martin O'Neill's final season in charge two and a half years ago.

But Lambert knows Villa cannot dwell on the events of Sunday as they prepare for the meeting with Andre Villas-Boas' side.

The Scot said: "It can happen. I've been on the end of it before and I'm pretty sure some of their lads would have been on the end of heavy defeats.

"But you have to bounce back and it's about how we react. You can't dwell on it and start feeling sorry sorry for yourselves.

"As a footballer, if you start feeling sorry for yourselves, there is only one place you are going to go.

"It is important that we try and bounce back very quickly. We just never turned up on Sunday and that is the harsh reality of football.

"It's a result that hurts players and fans, absolutely. I don't think anyone saw that coming,

"If you are on not on your mettle, especially at places like Chelsea, then that is what can happen."

But Lambert stressed: "You can't let one game blight what has happened of late.

"I've said all along that I never get too high when I win and I never get too low when we lose.

"We'd been in really fine form since the game at Sunderland a while back now and our only defeats in 11-12 games before Chelsea had been against the two Manchester clubs.

"Fixtures come thick and fast this time of the year and we only have two days to mull over it and have to go again against Tottenham on Wednesday.

"I am sure whoever plays on Wednesday will atone for that."

Lambert resisted the temptation to read the riot act after the Chelsea nightmare left Villa three points above the relegation zone and with their goal difference significantly damaged.

He said: "You can go in the dressing room afterwards and rant and rave all you want but it won't really do you much good.

"They know my feelings on it but they know themselves that they have let everybody down.

"I think they were really hurt by it. Now we focus on Tottenham. It's never easy to turn up and win a game but we will certainly try to bounce back as quickly as we can.

"I know how to handle it and it's up to me to get the players up. That's my job."

Lambert will assess the fitness of striker Gabriel Agbonlahor and skipper and central defender Ron Vlaar ahead of the Tottenham game.

Agbonlahor has been sidelined with a thigh injury and Vlaar a calf problem.

Striker Darren Bent is again ruled out with a hamstring injury while centre-back Richard Dunne will undergo rehab work after a third groin operation in America.

PA

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