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
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

Seifeddine Rezgui: What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?

Making of a killer

What motivated a shy student to kill 38 holidaymakers in Tunisia?
UK Heatwave: Temperatures on the tube are going to exceed the legal limit for transporting cattle

Just when you thought your commute couldn't get any worse...

Heatwave will see temperatures on the Tube exceed legal limit for transporting cattle
Exclusive - The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Swapping Bucharest for London

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Meet the man who swapped Romania for the UK in a bid to provide for his family, only to discover that the home he left behind wasn't quite what it seemed
Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Cheaper energy on the way, but it's not all sunshine and rainbows

Solar power will help bring down electricity prices over the next five years, according to a new report. But it’s cheap imports of ‘dirty power’ that will lower them the most
Katy Perry prevented from buying California convent for $14.5m after nuns sell to local businesswoman instead

No grace of God for Katy Perry as sisters act to stop her buying convent

Archdiocese sues nuns who turned down star’s $14.5m because they don’t approve of her
Ajmer: The ancient Indian metropolis chosen to be a 'smart city' where residents would just be happy to have power and running water

Residents just want water and power in a city chosen to be a ‘smart’ metropolis

The Indian Government has launched an ambitious plan to transform 100 of its crumbling cities
Michael Fassbender in 'Macbeth': The Scottish play on film, from Welles to Cheggers

Something wicked?

Films of Macbeth don’t always end well - just ask Orson Welles... and Keith Chegwin
10 best sun creams for body

10 best sun creams for body

Make sure you’re protected from head to toe in the heatwave
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon files

Milos Raonic has ability to get to the top but he must learn to handle pressure in big games
Women's World Cup 2015: How England's semi-final success could do wonders for both sexes

There is more than a shiny trophy to be won by England’s World Cup women

The success of the decidedly non-famous females wearing the Three Lions could do wonders for a ‘man’s game’ riddled with cynicism and greed
How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth: Would people co-operate to face down a global peril?

How to stop an asteroid hitting Earth

Would people cooperate to face a global peril?
Just one day to find €1.6bn: Greece edges nearer euro exit

One day to find €1.6bn

Greece is edging inexorably towards an exit from the euro
New 'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could help surgeons and firefighters, say scientists

'Iron Man' augmented reality technology could become reality

Holographic projections would provide extra information on objects in a person's visual field in real time
Sugary drinks 'are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year'

Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year

The drinks that should be eliminated from people's diets
Pride of Place: Historians map out untold LGBT histories of locations throughout UK

Historians map out untold LGBT histories

Public are being asked to help improve the map