Lambert optimistic ahead of City test
Paul Lambert wants Aston Villa to end their disappointing form in front of their own supporters and punish Manchester City if they field a weakened team ahead of their Champions League meeting with Bayern Munich.
• Hughes: Villa must move on
Stoke City manager Mark Hughes suggested two weeks ago that City manager Manuel Pellegrini had made a mistake in his team selection for the 0-0 draw at the Britannia Stadium -- ahead of City’s first Champions League group game against Viktoria Plzen.
It remains to be seen what side Pellegrini will select for the visit to Villa Park, where Lambert’s side have lost nine times in their last 13 home games, but the Scot believes his team are capable of inflicting damage on City’s title aspirations if the Chilean coach tinkers with his line-up on Saturday.
Lambert certainly hopes Pellegrini will have more than one eye on the encounter with the Champions League holders and said: "I know they have some great players and they are playing well.
"They have a huge game against Bayern on Wednesday, if they win that they have six points and are not too far from qualifying. Whether they have one eye on that I don’t know.
"They have enough players to have three teams. Over the course of the season you expect Manchester City to be round about it but on any given day you don’t know."
Lambert knows the expectation of Pellegrini, following on from Roberto Mancini, is to at least reach the knock out stages of the Champions League as well as making a serious challenge for the title this season -- and he feels, with their depth of squad and financial resources, they are reasonable demands.
"It doesn’t matter who they have got. The team is littered with top players, even the ones who can’t get a game," said Lambert.
"I expect them to be up there. Look at Arsenal as well, Chelsea, we have hit a spate of playing the big guns right away. It’s not easy so there’s no respite."
Despite another daunting challenge, Lambert believes his side has the ability to beat any of the top clubs, which they have proved already with the opening day victory over Arsenal, and he will not be altering his attacking approach to improve his disappointing home results.
"When we are at home we don’t set our stall out any differently. We try to win the home form you need to have a solid back and we seem to be doing it the other way around, I am sure it will come," he said.
"The law of averages says it will turn. We get too many fans to come and watch us to sit back. We never set our stall out to go and defend.
"Any given day you can beat the top sides. Over the course of 38 games it becomes tough because they have the squads. Over the 90 minutes it can happen and that’s why you believe you can get a result. You just try to win regardless who you are playing against."