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Jun 6, 2012

Lambert: I'll thrive on Villa pressure

Paul Lambert said he would not be intimidated by high expectations as he was unveiled as the new manager of Aston Villa.

Lambert ready for Villa challenge

Lambert, who left Norwich after three seasons to take charge of the Midlands club, said he wanted to thrive on the pressure of turning Villa's fortunes around after a narrow escape from relegation last season.

The 42-year-old urged supporters to play their part in reviving the team and said: "I'm not going to shy away from the expectancy at Villa - it's something I'll have to thrive on. I'm honoured to be the manager of Aston Villa. I'll give it everything I've got to make it as successful as I can.

"The fanbase is huge, and we'll need them to drive the club on. The players will need them, and I'll certainly need them. We will try to get results as quickly as we can and play football the right way. We'll try to get the fans excited and give them something.

"I think they will come in their thousands to watch us, and it is up to us to give them something back."

He said he was proud to be taking over at Villa, adding: "I'm delighted to be here and I can't wait to get going - it's a huge, huge club and it's got everything going for it. I'm honoured to be manager of the football club."

Lambert said he had not yet spoken about bringing his Carrow Road staff - assistant Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa - with him to Villa Park, explaining: "That's for another day."

He also insisted he "hadn't given one thought" to signing Canaries striker Grant Holt, who was top scorer for the East Anglians with 15 Premier League goals last season. "There are lads I'd like to bring to the football club and we'll see if we can get them in," he said.

And he added: "I had three unbelievable years [at Norwich] and, as I've said before, I loved my time there. I had a great rapport with the football club, the fans and the players.

"I will always be proud of what we have done as a group - it is a part of my life that will stay with me, and I will never forget it. I have nothing but praise for Norwich. The fanbase was always pivotal to what happened. I had my reasons [for leaving], which will probably remain private, and I don't want to keep going back to that.''

Lambert revealed he had consulted Martin O'Neill, a former Villa and Norwich manager, before making the move to the Midlands.

"I spoke to him and he was brilliant about it," he said. "He was really, really complimentary. I know what he did here - he took the club into the top six - and it's something I have to live with."

Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner stressed that money would be made available to the new manager and said: "We know we have to work with Paul to freshen the squad after a poor, disappointing season last year.

"It's about trying to get the squad ready to go so we can challenge in the top half of the table. We need to make sure Paul has the tools needed for a successful season."

Lambert guided Norwich to the Premier League via back-to-back promotions from League One. His final game in charge saw the Canaries beat Villa 2-0 on the last day of the season, with Alex McLeish being dismissed as the Villa manager a day later.

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