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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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

Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions
Major medical journal Lancet under attack for 'extremist hate propaganda' over its coverage of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Lancet accused of 'anti-Israel hate propaganda' over coverage of Gaza conflict

Threat to free speech as publishers of renowned medical journal are accused of inciting hatred and violence
General Election 2015: Tories and Lib Dems throw their star names west to grab votes

All noisy on the Lib Dems' western front

The party has deployed its big guns in Cornwall to save its seats there. Simon Usborne heads to the heart of the battle
How Etsy became a crafty little earner: The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?

How Etsy became a crafty little earner

The online market has been floated for £1.2bn, but can craft and capitalism coexist?
Guy Ritchie is the latest filmmaker to tackle King Arthur - one of our most versatile heroes

King Arthur is inspiring Guy Ritchie

Raluca Radulescu explains why his many permutations - from folk hero to chick-lit hunk - never cease to fascinate
Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations for the man or woman on the street?

Apple Watch: Will it live up to expectations?

The Apple Watch has apparently sold millions even before its launch tomorrow
Don't fear the artichoke: it's a good cook's staple, with more choice than you'd think

Don't fear the artichoke

Artichokes are scary - they've got spikes and hairy bits, and British cooks tend to give them a wide berth. But they're an essential and delicious part of Italian cuisine
11 best men's socks

11 best men's socks

Make a statement with your accessories, starting from the bottom up
Paul Scholes column: Eden Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo

Paul Scholes column

Hazard would be my Player of the Year – but I wonder if he has that appetite for goals of Messi or Ronaldo
Frank Warren: Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal

Frank Warren's Ringside

Tyson Fury will be closely watching Wladimir Klitschko... when he wins it'll be time to do a deal
London Marathon 2015: Kenya's brothers in arms Wilson Kipsang and Dennis Kimetto ready to take on world

Kenya's brothers in arms take on world

Last year Wilson Kipsang had his marathon record taken off him by training partner and friend Dennis Kimetto. They talk about facing off in the London Marathon
Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad but it's not because I refuse to fly

Natalie Bennett interview: I've lost track of the last time I saw my Dad

Green leader prefers to stay clear of her 'painful' family memories but is more open about 'utterly unreasonable' personal attacks
Syria conflict: Khorasan return with a fresh influx of fighters awaiting the order to start 'shooting the birds'

Khorasan is back in Syria

America said these al-Qaeda militants were bombed out of the country last year - but Kim Sengupta hears a different story
General Election 2015: Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North for Ukip?

On the campaign trail with Ukip

Is William Cash the man to woo Warwickshire North?
Four rival Robin Hood movies get Hollywood go-head - and Friar Tuck will become a superhero

Expect a rush on men's tights

Studios line up four Robin Hoods productions