Paul Lambert stays positive ahead of Aston Villa crisis talks with Randy Lerner

'This club has been in a survival battle for years,' says Villa manager after another heavy defeat

Don't panic, stay calm was the message to Paul Lambert ahead of crisis talks with Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner over the alarming slump that has left the club fighting for Premier League survival. Roberto Martinez, the manager of Wigan Athletic knows better than most how his counterpart at Villa is feeling this morning. Saturday's 3-0 defeat at home to Wigan brought a calamitous six days to a close for Villa with a goal ratio of nil for and 15 against.

Only once has a team conceded more in a three-game sequence but never in the same season. In a run of remarkable similarity Wigan shipped 18, losing 8-0 to Chelsea on the final day of 2009-10 and then 4-0 to Blackpool and 6-0 to Chelsea again at the start of 2010-11. Lambert can also console himself with a flick through Rothmans Football Yearbooks, which reveal that Ipswich conceded 15 in three matches in March 1995, losing 9-0 at Manchester United and 3-0 against Tottenham and Norwich.

Lambert accepts that these are not the kind of statistics that you want to take into a meeting with the owner, who was ringside for this latest drubbing. Lerner journeyed from the United States to see first-hand the scale of the crisis engulfing his club, who sit just one point above the relegation zone, and to discuss with Lambert what moves they might make in the looming transfer window. Lambert has the forbidding task first of righting the ship at Swansea tomorrow before he can get busy with re-inforcing the kids club with old heads.

"We will come in tomorrow and Monday and get them going," Lambert said on Saturday evening. "I'll speak with the chairman to see where we are. I knew the job was massive. This is a huge football club with a great tradition. You have to keep them believing that they can keep going. This club has been in a survival battle for the last couple of years. But I don't think about that. We are in a fight, but so are eight other teams."

Wigan were gifted the lead inside three minutes, Ivan Ramis rising unchallenged to meet Shaun Maloney's corner and crashing a header past Brad Guzan. Another 40 minutes elapsed before Villa remotely threatened a goal and then Brett Holman hit the bar from point-blank range. Two rapier strikes in four minutes at the start of the second half from Emmerson Boyce and Arouna Koné made better sense of the dominance of a visiting side for whom Maloney was excellent behind Franco di Santo and Koné.

Lambert should draw comfort from a Wigan performance that followed a return of only four points from nine games, a run which saw them fall into the bottom three. This victory took Wigan out of the relegation slots and above Villa on goal difference. Martinez had this advice for Lambert: "Paul Lambert knows exactly what he's doing and has got a great group of players. You could see it today that at 3-0 down they were fighting for each other. We've been in a similar situation and when you change things round and you bring in different ideas and you get young players, you need to be a little bit patient because defeats can show the wrong scoreline. That doesn't mean anything for the next game, everyone will be ready to fight again.

"Obviously at Wigan we are expected to fight to avoid relegation, I'm not saying that's something that we look forward to, but the truth is when you've got the whole unity of the football club helping the players week-in, week-out, and not worried about the score, it really helps, particularly in the transitional periods. Remember what Villa had is a real desire to win and when you concede one or two goals maybe you start to be a little bit fragile but Villa went to Anfield and looked a very strong unit, a team capable of getting a result against anyone.

"So I cannot see Villa having too many problems this season. They are in the middle of a tough run but if you look at the spirit of this squad and the youth of this squad, this is a year that is going to put up a really good platform for the future."

Villa on the slide: decline in numbers

4: Combined shots on target by Villa in their three Christmas matches

15: Goals conceded by Villa in their last three matches

23: Average age of Aston Villa's starting line-up against Wigan

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan stars as Christian Grey in the Fifty Shades of Grey movie
filmFirst look at Jamie Dornan in Fifty Shades of Grey trailor
News
Lars Ulrich of Metallica performs on the Pyramid Stage at Glastonbury 2014
music
Sport
Shinji Kagawa and Reece James celebrate after the latter scores in Manchester United's 7-0 victory over LA Galaxy
football
Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
Farah returns to the track with something to prove
Commonwealth games
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game