Paul Lambert thanks Randy Lerner and Aston Villa fans for showing patience

After a difficult start to the season, Villa pulled away from relegation trouble

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert thanked chairman Randy Lerner and the club's fans for buying into his philosophy as a difficult season came to a close.

A 2-2 draw with Wigan yesterday ensured the midlanders finished five points clear of the relegation zone after battling against the drop for most of the season.

Lambert has had to rely on Villa's youngsters to pull them through, with five wins from the last 10 games proving enough.

The Scot said: "It's been really hard. Especially in that Christmas period when we couldn't get a win. But the big thing was the crowd stayed with it. I think that was a very telling factor.

"Because we were in a transitional period, we knew we had to come through it. I think the club would have kept on sliding. We had to strip it right back and get it going.

"Randy Lerner's been absolutely fantastic with us. He knows the philosophy, that we're trying to build the club. And you see that performance and the performances of the last five months, it's been extremely high."

It was a different story for Wigan, whose demotion to the npower Championship after eight years in the top flight was confirmed with defeat by Arsenal on Tuesday.

Relegation came only three days after the finest day in Wigan's history when they beat Manchester City at Wembley last Saturday to win the FA Cup, and the trophy was displayed on the pitch before and after yesterday's game.

Attention at the DW Stadium will now turn to whether Roberto Martinez will stay at the club he used to play for and has managed for four years.

The Spaniard, who has been heavily linked with Everton, will meet chairman Dave Whelan next Monday to discuss those matters after the dust has settled.

He said: "Sometimes it's good to have a little bit of breathing space and reflect and make sure we sit down with the chairman and make the right decisions.

"But that doesn't mean anything (is decided). Next season for Wigan is an incredible campaign. It's the first time we're going to be in Europe, and we don't go into the qualifying rounds, we go straight into the group stages, which means you've got six games guaranteed.

"We've got to defend the FA Cup, and then you're involved in a competition where you have to play 46 games. We need a large squad, we need the youngsters to be ready.

"You saw three or four players who have been working extremely hard. The structure's working at the football club and we need to be very excited for the future.

"We've got the best chairman ever. He said he won't stop until he gets Wigan Athletic back into the Barclays Premier League, and when he says something like that, you better believe him."

PA

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Sport
footballFollow the latest news from tonight's friendly
Arts and Entertainment
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
All the people: Graham Coxon, Damon Albarn, Alex James and Dave Rowntree
musicThe Magic Whip, album review
News
people
News
Presenter Jack Nicholson and George Clooney pose in the press room after 'Argo' won the trophy for Best Picture during the 85th Annual Academy Awards on February 24, 2013 in Hollywood.
people
News
The two faces revealed by the ultraviolet light
Scholars left shaken after ultraviolet light reveals faces staring at them from medieval manuscripts
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

Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?
11 best bedside tables

11 best bedside tables

It could be the first thing you see in the morning, so make it work for you. We find night stands, tables and cabinets to wake up to
No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell