Lambert sees confidence finally rewarded by Villa

Stoke City 1 Aston Villa 3

Lambert’s youthful Villa team boosted their chances of Premier League survival by claiming a deserved 3-1 success at Stoke.

It was a third win in four games and the perfect response to last week’s setback against Liverpool.

Lambert said: “I think they play without a fear. There are some really terrific footballers at the club, really good.

“We try to play football the right way. If you can play without fear and freedom it will certainly help you.

“There is a lot of momentum there, I think we have had it since the turn of the year. I know results haven’t always gone our way but I think we have been playing really well.

“I thought we could have got a point from Liverpool and that shows how far we have come in a short space of time. If we come through this we will be so much better for this.”

Lambert spoke of his confidence of avoiding the drop after the home loss to Liverpool and there was no doubt Villa were good value for their latest win.

Gabriel Agbonlahor put them ahead after nine minutes and Stoke’s defence struggled to contain the visitors’ threat, with Andreas Weimann hitting the post.

A failure to make their superiority count looked like costing them after Michael Kightly equalised after 80 minutes but the game was effectively settled by astunning Matt Lowton volley three minutes from time.

Top scorer Christian Benteke made sure of the points by finishing off a counter-attack in injury time.

Benteke’s goal was his 19th since joining Villa from Genk in August and Lambert dismissed concerns he might be tiring as a draining season reaches its conclusion.

He said: “He was brilliant. The one he has to please is myself. He was up there on his own.

“He has played every game for Belgium, Genk before we got him, and for ourselves — and he scores again.

“The guy has been absolutely brilliant. I don’t think you can say he looked tired.”

More in this section

Sport
Newsletter

Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up
IE_logo_newsletters

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox