USA Tour text/pictures: Bent jumping for joy at Lambert's attacking intent
Darren Bent insists Villa are going on the attack this season, on the orders of boss Paul Lambert.
Bent admits he's been thrilled with the rhetoric coming from Lambert in the first three weeks of pre-season.
Villa's star striker, talking to AVFC.co.uk as he toured the Portland Trail Blazers basketball training facility, revealed Lambert addressed the troops on the opening morning to deliver a 'thrill the crowd' rallying call.
Bent says the players were ecstatic about the positive philosophy and now can't wait for the new campaign to begin.
He said: "It's been great. The atmosphere has been amazing. Since the manager has come in, everyone has been buzzing.
"Everyone can't wait for the season to get going. There's real optimism about the season ahead.
"We first felt the optimism in our first session when the gaffer came in and told us how he wanted us to play. It was great because he said he wanted us to play with a real freedom.
"He wants us to be really dangerous and create loads of chances. That's exciting for us. We're really enjoying things and we can't wait to show that.
"He wants us to be an attacking outfit. He has a philosophy where he says 'if we're going to get beat, we're going to get beat having a go.' He wants us to have a right good go at every single team. That's how it should be.
"We have attacking players in the team who can cause real damage and he's told them to go out and do their stuff. So far in pre-season and in training, they have certainly responded.
"It's certainly going to be a dream for me playing that way as a striker.
"Obviously last season was difficult. We were playing 4-5-1 at times and you can become isolated but in this formation that's impossible because it's so attack-minded.
"We have the back four, two who sit in front of the back four but then the other four go and do their stuff. I really feel like it's going to be a good season.
"He never, ever has a go at any player who's in the attacking third, has a go and then gives it away.
"You have Charles and Stevie and he's telling them to just go out and do their stuff. He tells the strikers to get in the box and score goals. It's exciting times.
"It's a new day and a new dawn now for Aston Villa. We have a new manager and players who are really optimistic about the coming campaign. We're behind him 100%.
"We are ready to back him and we'll do whatever he wants us to do. We are all for it and ready to go."
Bent took time out from his schedule to have a good look around the Portland Trail Blazers training facility.
Kaleb Canales was on hand to show Bent around and the fab forward even got some tips on hoop shooting from the highly-respected head coach.
Click here for images from the afternoon.