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Lambert hails second-half defiance

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has urged his side to repeat their determined second-half performance at Old Trafford in the remaining four games of the season.

Lambert said he believed the battling qualities shown by his team after they had gone 3-0 behind to Robin van Persie's hat-trick would give them a chance to escape dropping out of the top flight for the first time in the Premier League era.

He said was pleased with the way his team had refused to crumble to a heavier defeat - as they had when losing 8-0 at Chelsea in December - and had caused United problems after the interval as the hosts wrapped up the Premier League title.

"It is psychologically important that we kept the score to three, certainly in terms of confidence. It was vital after what had happened at Stamford Bridge," the manager added.

"The players must have felt like that could happen again. When the third goal went in, I thought it was going to be a long night.

"Thankfully, the players have learned from what happened against Chelsea, and there was no repeat.

"They regrouped superbly. I was proud of the way they had a right good go in the second half, but now we have four cup finals to play. It is not going to change. We know what we have to do, and we have to try and win every game."

Three of Villa's remaining games are against Norwich, Wigan and Sunderland, with Paolo Di Canio's Black Cats the visitors to Villa Park next Monday in what Lambert said was as a "must-win" game.

"Sunderland are going great themselves, but it is an opportunity for us," he said. "We are at home, and we know what we have to do.

"It is a massive game on Monday and we have to try to win it. We have to keep our belief and keep doing what we did in the second half at Old Trafford. If we do that, then we will win more games."

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