Paul Lambert has hit back at claims his Aston Villa team rely on long-ball tactics, the
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho said in August that Villa could only play that way after the teams met at Stamford Bridge and after their midweek League Cup match, Tottenham Hotspur Head Coach Andre Villas-Boas described Villa’s approach as: “…very aggressive – long balls and direct.”
But Lambert stressed the difference between a long ball – which tends to be an aimless punt upfield – and a long pass. “We find that a bit wrong saying that,” Lambert said. “We don’t play that way at all. We don’t just kick it upfront and hope for the best.
“We don’t have the players to play long balls – we might play a long pass. I think it is detrimental to say things like that and I don’t agree with that. Ashley Westwood, Fabian Delph, Antonio Luna, Karim El Ahmadi – they are footballers, we don’t have lads to go and play long. Even if Christian Benteke plays, we don’t play long.
“Don’t tell me we are a big side, other than maybe Christian and Nathan Baker. We try and pass it. Even in training,” Lambert added.
The newspaper points out, however, that according to Opta’s stats, Villa have won the most flick-ons in the Premier League and played the third-most long passes – but Lambert rejects the long-ball tag regardless.
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