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Lambert stands by his words

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has reluctantly accepted his one-match touchline ban from the Football Association but insists he stands by his criticism of the match officials following last weekend's defeat to Manchester City.

• Blog: How will Lambert spend Lerner's money?

Lambert will sit out the visit of Arsenal on Saturday, while he has also been given an £8,000 fine for his comments about referee Jon Moss and assistant referee Adrian Holmes for a penalty awarded against his side at the Etihad Stadium.

The Villa boss labeled the decision "ridiculous and woeful" and added "it was not a penalty in this life". He also accused the officials of "not being strong" over the penalty awarded against Villa striker Andreas Weimann for handball.

Lambert admitted an FA charge of improper conduct and will be forced to direct operations from the Villa Park directors box on Saturday as his side look to avoid a third straight defeat and climb out of the relegation zone.

"I've admitted the charge," he said. "I still stick by the decision, that it was a shocking decision. It annoyed me at the time, but you can't change it. But if you're only about 40 yards away, how can you not see it. Nobody claimed for it.

"It might not have changed the result or whatever but it certainly changed the pattern of the game because we were well in it. The aftermath happens and then you end up getting done for it."

Villa have made their worst start to a campaign since the 1964/65 season and Lambert knows his team have to start putting points on the board sooner rather than later to ease the pressure.

Elsewhere, Lambert has some good news with the return of Darren Bent to his squad for the visit of Arsene Wenger's side.

Bent, 28, has missed the last three games with an ankle problem but returned to training this week and is expected to be on the bench.

Despite the pair's well publicised problems, Lambert insists his relationship with the striker is "fine" and his presence in the squad will give him much-needed scoring options.

"Darren trained this week and is back which is pleasing," he said. "Darren has been fine around the place and there has never been a problem anyway.

"The players against Manchester City and Manchester United couldn't give any more. There wasn't too much wrong with that side, but I have got options there if I want."

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