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Villa desperate to avoid bottom three

Aston Villa midfielder Karim El Ahmadi says dropping into the Premier League relegation zone this weekend would be a humiliating psychological blow for the club.

• Blog: Diamonds aren't forever

Villa's home fixture against Norwich City already has the backdrop of manager Paul Lambert facing the side he left for the Midlands in the summer.

Lambert will be eager to avoid losing to his former employers, but El Ahmadi believes Villa will be more motivated by trying to avoid dropping into the bottom three.

Their defeat against Fulham last weekend leaves them one point and one place above the relegation spots, and El Ahmadi said: "It's mentally a place we don't want to be, so if we lose on Saturday it would not be good, but we have confidence.

"We are close to the bottom three, but no team we have played have destroyed us or been much better than us.

"We have to be aware that we need the points on Saturday to be in front of Norwich. You saw Norwich beat Arsenal so, in this league, anything can happen."

El Ahmadi may have been wearing Norwich colours this weekend if Lambert had remained at Carrow Road. The manager was interested in signing the Moroccan midfielder from Feyenoord for £3 million last season, and made him his first signing when he arrived in the Midlands.

"Sometimes I think about that, but then maybe I would have been wearing a lot of shirts if you keep thinking like that," El Ahmadi said.

He said he believed Villa's performances so far have deserved more than five points from eight games, explaining: "We expected to have more points than we have now. I think we could have had more points by now. It is important to have faith that we can win games at this level."

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