Paul Lambert refuses to talk about suspension of his assistants at Aston Villa

 

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The Independent Football

Paul Lambert admitted a win on Saturday would not make up for the upheaval at Villa this week

Anybody seeking clarification on an eventful week at Aston Villa was in the wrong place at Paul Lambert's press conference.

Lambert, speaking for the first time since the club suspended his two long-serving assistants, admitted that Villa's performances this term had not been good enough and reflected on the need for major squad investment. Yet all the while the elephant in the room went undiscussed.

There has been much talk about the reasons behind the suspensions of Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa – Lambert's assistant manager and head of football operations, who had been with him at his three previous clubs. There are rumours of fallings-out with players and staff, as well as a breakdown in their relationship with Lambert himself, yet the Villa manager shed no further light due to legal restrictions.

Villa insist Lambert's position has not been weakened yet the Scot admitted that things must improve, with Villa only four points above third-bottom Fulham. "I don't want another season like this or last year," he said. The short-term hope is the shuffling of his backroom staff – Gordon Cowans and Shay Given have replaced the suspended pair – can reinvigorate a squad in sore need of three points at home to Southampton on Saturday after four defeats. "They've come up and certainly helped," said Lambert, yet the strain told when he was asked if a victory would make this week's upheaval worth it and replied: "I don't think anything's worth all this."

Villa have the same points total – 34 from 33 games – as a year ago. "I never came here to be like this," admitted Lambert. "We've had four years of this [since Martin O'Neill left] but you have to work within the parameters that you're working in.

"Off the pitch, the finances are a lot healthier, that is a progression in itself."

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