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Liverpool and Arsenal set for showdown

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Lambert ready for relegation pressures

Paul Lambert believes he is well equipped to help Aston Villa through the pressures of being in the relegation zone, although he hopes those skills will not be required as the season progresses.

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

Lambert insists the atmosphere at Villa Park is positive, despite his side going into Saturday's clash with Arsenal sitting in 18th position.

Villa have slipped into the bottom three for the first time in two years, but Lambert is hoping the resilience of his players and his own experiences will help them deal with criticism.

"I was fortunate I played for the big clubs because you tended to handle a lot of media stuff and pressure and all that," he said. "At Celtic you were probably a second away from being hopeless because of the pressure. You tend to deal with it.

"Celtic was absolutely brilliant for that. It really made you thick-skinned and you'd get your head down and get on with it because of the demands of the public. It's the same scenario as a manager, but you battle through it. You try not to wilt under it, you keep going.

"That's why I always say the most important people at this football club are the players and the people that come and watch it."

Villa have won just two of their 12 Premier League campaigns this season and they face an Arsenal side buoyed by a convincing derby win over Tottenham last weekend.

But Lambert believes Villa cannot be fearful of challenging the top teams and a strong performance against the Gunners could get their season on track.

"You certainly don't want to be where we are. It's not something that I'm used to," Lambert said. "The thing for me is that the players don't lose heart and confidence. As soon as you lose that, then it becomes a major problem. I've not sensed that one bit.

"But we need to win games, including the Arsenal game. I always want to be beating the bigger teams as well. I don't look at the fixtures and say 'oh well, we're playing Arsenal so I'll disregard three points there'.

"I want to win and it's the same when you go and play the so-called not so big clubs that you want to win them. You've got to have that belief there that you can do it. I think that's important, no matter what."

Information from the Press Association was used in this report.

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