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Aston Villa Focus - Villa youngsters must not let praise go to their heads

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By Dominic Price

Friday 21 December 2012

A month is a very long time in football. Around this point in November many journalists had already began to write off Villa’s season, declaring Paul Lambert would do well to keep them in the Premier League for another campaign.

Paul Lambert

If they looked at the stats at that time they may have had a point, with Villa having just come off the back of a 5-0 mauling from champions Manchester City at the Etihad, and losing seven of their first 12 league fixtures, it did look like it would not be a season of cheer for the Midlands team.

Since then, Villa have gone on a six match unbeaten run in all competitions. They have discovered a terrific strike partnership between Andreas Weimann and Christian Benteke, and look solid at the back with Ciaran Clark, Nathan Baker and Chris Herd forming a new look 3-5-2 formation that has proven to be difficult to beat for any team Villa have been up against. This recent form in the league and Captial One Cup has seen Paul Lambert praised for his belief in his young team’s ability, instead of being criticised for an over reliance on youth as it had been referred to previously.

It has been a superb month for Villa so far, but the month is far from done, as the busy Christmas period is now approaching. What they have achieved so far is credible, but what they still need to achieve for the rest of the season will take a lot of hard work and determination, something which his young side must not lose focus of. They have shown plenty of willing and courage up to this point, but with their team now receiving praise instead of criticism, Lambert’s young side must now face a new type of pressure; expectation.

If you speak to many Villa fans, they will still tell you that Aston Villa is a huge club, a sleeping giant waiting to be awoken. They will tell you of European aspirations, of a dream that one day in the near future their team will once more emulate the team of 1982, and go on to win major competitions. With recent high praise, players may start to believe this is also a possibility, and this is what Paul Lambert must ensure does not happen.

A team who believe they are great will often falter; a team who achieve great things will often be humble and proud. As Paul Lambert has said several times regarding his Aston Villa youngsters, especially in form striker Christian Benteke, they can achieve anything they want to achieve in this game of football. However nothing will be achieved if the Villa players and staff realise what they are now, and what needs to be done to improve.

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