Post-match blog: Plenty of reasons to be upbeat after Hammers loss
20th Aug 2012
Paul Lambert summed it up perfectly post-match when he said: "There's miles to go, absolute miles. I'm not going to get downbeat. I am hurt like everyone else.
"I would have liked to have got off to a good start but there's a long, long way to go. There were some good things there."
His final sign-off is very apt because despite a lack of "cutting-edge", something the gaffer freely noted in all his media duties on the final whistle, there were promising elements in the performance.
Fans noted a lack of fluency in the previous campaign. That certainly could not be levelled at Villa at Upton Park, particularly in the opening half-hour.
The football at times was stunning, as the likes of Karim El Ahmadi, Fabian Delph, Brett Holman and Charles N'Zogbia produced exquisite passages of play.
It's fair to say that Lambert's men couldn't continue that form throughout the entire game but it's still very much a work in progress.
"We're a new, young side. We will make mistakes. We just need everyone to stick together. We will try and progress in every game," said Lambert.
That's another important point. This is the first competitive match for these boys as a team. They need time to gel.
If the opening half-hour is an indicator of how they're looking to play the game, the omens are good.
"It's just about pulling the team together. If we do that, we will be fine," admitted Lambert.
That's talking offensively. There's no doubt defensively, Villa looked solid.
Shay Given had little to do, Matt Lowton played strongly on his top-flight debut, Nathan Baker showed real maturity, Ciaran Clark resembled a seasoned veteran while Ron Vlaar was just immense.
"I thought Ron Vlaar was excellent, I really did. He was very, very good," added Lambert.
"He's a strong, big lad. I thought he was excellent. He's a really good player. He's a really top professional footballer too."
Just like his nickname 'Concrete', this new-look side will take time to set. But the indications are that they are certainly moving in the right direction.
Lambert appeared far from sombre in his media duties after the match.
Gutted to have lost, of course. But not gloomy. He had a brightness that said much.
He knows there are good times on the horizon once everything clicks.
Asked about the future, he said: "It's something I'm relishing. I love it."
With more time given for Lambert to work his magic, I'm sure Villa supporters will adore this fresh, vibrant team.
Click here to pick up tickets for Villa's exciting first home game against Everton.
paul brown, blogs, west ham united,
Go to full match coverage for 18 August 2012, West Ham 1 - 0 Aston Villa
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