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West Ham v Villa gaffer preview: Lambert on Petrov
Paul Lambert on Stiliyan Petrov.
18th Aug 2012
West Ham v Villa gaffer preview: Lambert on Petrov


By Paul Brown

Paul Lambert admits he's relishing hearing the Stan Petrov '19th Minute' tribute at West Ham - calling the fan gesture "incredible."

Supporters plan on continuing their minute of applause to the popular club captain this season - home and away.

Lambert says the clapping, to coincide with his squad number, is brilliant and just goes to show the love felt for the player, who is recovering from leukaemia.

He said: "The appreciation from the crowd is incredible, absolutely brilliant.

"That 19th minute applause is an incredible thing. I am sure he appreciates that.

"He's doing really, really fine. His health is the most important thing. Forget football, that's a secondary thing."

Lambert recalls playing with Petrov at Celtic and how the ace midfielder was a "beast" when it came to putting in the work in training.

He added: "The thing with Stiliyan is I've never seen a player train before he went out to train. He was like a beast. He used to train before he trained.

"When he first came to Celtic, he was so out of shape and condition. He didn't know a word of the language and he used to shoot from about 80 yards.

"Then he broke his leg. Stiliyan Petrov and Henrik Larsson are the only two players I have ever seen break a leg and come back better players. They were brilliant.

"Stiliyan came back a whole different player. He trained and trained and trained and was fantastic.

"He then came down here to Villa and has been great for the team.

"Stiliyan obviously will keep the club captaincy. I think that's only right."

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