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Lambert: I don't want to fail

Paul Lambert is driven by a fear of failure at Aston Villa as he struggles to find a solution to the club's worst start to a season for 26 years.

• Bent's Villa exile set to continue
• Blog: Guzan's time to shine

Lambert's inauspicious opening to his new life as Villa manager has seen the club win just once in their opening seven games of the Premier League season, ahead of the visit to face Fulham at Craven Cottage on Saturday.

His reign has been further overshadowed by rumours of a feud with £24 million striker Darren Bent, despite Lambert's insistence that his relationship with the former England international has not been damaged.

The last time Villa made such a disappointing start to a new campaign they were relegated and Lambert is fighting to correct a gradual decline which commenced when Martin O'Neill left Villa Park and was replaced by Gerard Houllier.

Defeat at Fulham would run the risk of Lambert's side dropping into the bottom three of the Premier League table, in stark contrast to the successive promotions he enjoyed with former club Norwich City which prompted Villa to install him as Alex McLeish's replacement in the summer.

Lambert knows the job of protecting owner Randy Lerner's huge investment and maintaining the club's Premier League status is the biggest undertaking of his short managerial career.

"The fear of failure drives me on," he said. "People think that's a strange thing but it's because I don't want to lose or get beat with anything. I think if people want to beat me they'll have to put me on my backside. That can happen, and I just want the team to do the exact same.

"Sometimes a team can mirror the manager, that can happen, and the fear of failure is what drives me on. Not money or anything else. I get great plaudits out of the team doing well and getting the plaudits. Myself? I don't matter."

Lambert has again stressed that there has been no fall-out with Bent, who has not been to see him about his disappointment at losing his starting place to £8m signing Christian Benteke during the international break. Lambert said: "He has not come to knock on my door."

Bent may have to wait for a return to the starting line up for at least another week, after Benteke scored in Belgium's World Cup qualifying win over Scotland and Stephen Ireland may also be included in the squad after missing the last three games with a broken bone in his wrist.

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