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Lambert defiant despite worst start in 43 years

Sunday, 28 October 2012 - 3:25pm IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph

Paul Lambert has already etched his name into Aston Villa's history books for the most unpalatable of reasons after making the worst start in 43 years.

Aston Villa 1 Norwich 1

Paul Lambert has already etched his name into Aston Villa's history books for the most unpalatable of reasons after making the worst start in 43 years.

Lambert was given another stark reminder of the huge job ahead after being sentenced to an unenviable record by his former club as fears only increased that Villa are heading for another excruciating season.

This was supposed to be the dawn of a new era after the club had threatened to go moribund after Alex McLeish but the same old problems remain, despite a significantly revamped squad. The stench of underachievement is still overpowering and Norwich arguably deserved to condemn their old manager to a humiliating defeat on his own turf.

This was supposed to be an stormy reunion for Lambert after his bitter departure from Carrow Road in June, but was about as hostile as an infant's birthday party. And though Lambert defiantly insisted he will not be down among the dead men this season, the alarm bells are ringing.

It does not promise to get any easier for Lambert - Villa face both Manchester clubs and Arsenal next month.

Lambert said: "I have great belief we will be totally fine. I go into every game thinking we can win it, and those games will take care of themselves.

"The lads will raise the bar and you know you will have to play well and get a bit of luck. I can't fault the players for their commitment here.

"It didn't enter my head about this game being against my old club. This is my club now and it's a brilliant one."

Lambert's acrimonious exit is still yet to be resolved, with both parties suing each other, but there was no bile or 'Judas' chants from the visiting supporters. The only daggers he probably got were from Darren Bent, after the England international was excluded from Lambert's starting XI for the third time in four games.

Norwich were clearly lifted by their victory against Arsenal last weekend and were in control in the early stages of a woeful first half.

Wes Hoolahan should have shattered the tedium on 22 minutes when Grant Holt's miscued volley fortuitously fell into his path but his shot was smothered by Brad Guzan.

However, five minutes later, out of nowhere, Villa took the lead, with Christian Benteke turning in the box to slide the ball into
the corner.

Norwich received a welcome slice of fortune seven minutes into the second period when Joe Bennett was dismissed for a second bookable offence, a needless tug on Elliott Bennett.

Guzan frustrated Hoolahan and Holt but Norwich's pressure finally paid off 11 minutes from time when Michael Turner nodded in Hoolahan's cross.

Chris Hughton, the Norwich manager, said: "We're delighted with four points in two games. In this league points are so difficult to come by but we've got to maintain some momentum."


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