West Ham v Villa match preview: Lambert relishing "adrenaline rush"
Paul Lambert spoke of the "adrenaline rush" of the Barclays Premier League on the eve of the West Ham game this weekend - and it's clear he wants Villa fans to get high on quality football this term.
Lambert has stressed throughout pre-season that attacking, adventurous football - a willingness to play on the front foot - is very much part of his makeup, against any side.
He accepts fully that the cost of being part of the top-flight experience is a high one for every fan and that there's a duty to perform to an optimum level to satisfy cravings for class from the stands.
But he has also shown pragmatism in his approach as we head into the Upton Park encounter.
While thrilling the crowd is part of his football philosophy, he's adamant there shouldn't be overindulgence in entertainment if it affects the ultimate result.
It's winning he cares about most dearly, starting at Upton Park.
"We will go down there and try to win. That's important," said Lambert.
"I am sure the fans will go down there and hope to see us get the result.
"It's a really, really tough match but I am not going to go there and sit on the back foot really.
"We have to go there on the front foot and the best way to do that is to try and attack.
"I think you've got to attack. There's too many come and watch. I have been brought up that way myself.
"I was fortunate to play at some really big clubs who had to win. I think that always sticks in my mind that you have to get on the front foot or generate some kind of atmosphere.
"It doesn't change much for me from first team to reserves to youth. You want youngsters and experienced players to go and express themselves.
"I think if a player plays with fear, there's only one way he's going to go. There'll be times when you think 'what's he doing?' but you have to give them that freedom.
"When you're at home, you've got 40,000 coming to watch you! If I asked the question to the fans and they said 'we're just going to sit and defend and defend and defend' I wouldn't accept it. I am the same as the supporters. I want to win.
"You might get turned over. You really might. But I think there's a way to get beat. If you're going to get beat, make sure you give it a right go. There's too many fans come to watch you every single week, too many.
"But people can get caught up in entertainment and not winning.
"I am 100% sure if we were playing like Brazil but getting beat 3-0 every week, there's only one place I'm going. That's the game - it is about winning. The more games we win, the more people go away happy.
"You might play woeful in one game and win it and you think 'my god, how did we do that?' Then another game you might come off and think 'we played absolutely brilliantly' and get beaten.
"That's the unpredictable game you've got. But yes, we're certainly going to give it a right good go."
Lambert lifted the lid on this "need to win" and said it came from a real "fear of failure" that drives him on week after week after week.
"People think 'that's a strange thing,' But I don't want to lose or get beat in anything," added the boss.
"I always think 'if you're going to beat me, you're going to have to put me on my backside.'
"That might happen, it can happen. But I just want the team to do the exact same.
"It's true what they say that the team can become a mirror of the manager.
"Fear of failure drives me on, it's not monetary. I get great joy seeing a team performing and winning. I like them getting plaudits. Myself? It doesn't matter about that."
Lambert might think that but his players clearly don't.
Matthew Lowton has been just one of many who have extolled the virtues of the boss as they head into the top-flight opener on Saturday.
The former Sheffield United man, already an integral part of the claret and blue set-up, insists the "will to win" of Lambert is rubbing off on the players.
"We're getting the winning vibe from the manager definitely around the place and in training. He wants us to close the ball down as a team, win headers, tackles, everything really!" said Lowton.
"The emphasis is ensuring you come out on top in every element - and winning!"
To do so, Villa must see off Sam Allardyce, who spoke in his pre-match press conference of keeping the euphoria from the Olympic Games going at Upton Park.
Allardyce is hoping West Ham can deliver the same levels of "entertainment" that were on show in the capital for the four-yearly event.
Interestingly, while Lambert agrees that London 2012 was outstanding, the manager displayed his hungry and determined side when rejecting suggestions that the "spirit" of the Olympics could continue into the Barclays Premier League season.
"Like everyone else, I thought the Olympics were a great event with great sportsmanship," added the gaffer.
"But football is a different environment, it really is. It's an aggressive environment and an adrenaline rush.
"Every emotion you go through, the players go through the exact same."
Lambert will be hoping that emotion is joy when the referee blows his whistle at the end of the season opener, that's for sure!
Match: West Ham v Villa
AVTV Don't Miss
Brett Holman [ankle] and Chris Herd [thigh] both available.
Nathan Delfouneso [thigh] is "touch and go."
Marc Albrighton [foot], Gabby Agbonlahor [knee] and Richard Dunne [groin] are all out.
Tickets for this match are sold out.
Villa will be wearing their away strip of lime green shirts, navy shorts and lime green and navy hooped socks.
Last Time Out
West Ham 1-2 Villa
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