Southampton v Villa match preview: Lambert never looking back
You'd think the past would be something fantastic for Paul Lambert to draw upon.
That he would sit back on quiet afternoons and immerse himself in memories of starring in the green and white hoops of Celtic or winning the European Cup with Borussia Dortmund and putting the skids under the world's finest player of the time, Zinedine Zidane.
Or even recalling the thrilling win for Villa over Swansea at the weekend as he gets set to take the same set of lads to Southampton for the latest clash in the Barclays Premier League calendar.
Not so. His thoughts, quite clearly, are only of the present moment.
"I don't miss being a player and I don't miss playing," said Lambert. "I loved my time as a player. I was very fortunate to play with some world-class players and in some world-class teams. I was fortunate to win some nice things too.
"But when it's gone it's gone. I don't live in the past. I don't have anything on show. It's just for the memories.
"In terms of the team at the moment, I don't get too carried away when we win or when we lose.
"It's important to kick on again. We need to forget about the Swansea win and go again.
"I never look at the past or the future. I take it one game at a time. I hate that phrase 'work in progress' too. You never get that time. I can't stand it.
"I just look to the next game. I am pretty sure the fans went away really buoyant after Swansea. It's a small step for us. But we need to keep that spirit and keep going."
I think they call it 'mindfulness.' No daydreaming of past glories or future achievements. Being aware only of the task in hand.
That's a mantra Lambert lives by. And that consists, this weekend, of the tough test at St Mary's as he pits his wits with opposite number Nigel Adkins.
"Southampton have a really good team. They have had momentum for two years. As a group they have done great," said Lambert.
"Okay, that have had a hard start but that can happen. The Barclays Premier League is unforgiving and you can get beat at any given time. That's home and away.
"That's the difficult thing they have probably found, that it's really, really tough. As a team they deserve a lot of credit for what they have done, however.
"I think Southampton were unlucky against Manchester City and on the opening day they went close against Manchester United. They got beat by Arsenal but they can do that to anyone, especially at The Emirates.
"But it just shows it's really tough."
With Southampton having lost their opening four games of the campaign, Lambert is more than aware that the home crowd will be up for it in terms of offering vociferous support.
St Mary's is renowned as a den of noise aimed at backing their team and putting the away side under duress.
Lambert believes his players will thrive in that tough environment.
"It shouldn't affect them," said Lambert. "You thrive on it. You don't wilt under it that's for sure. If you thrive on it, you'll handle it. It's part of the game.
"The onus is on Southampton to make the running. It always is with the home team. If they do that, hopefully we can pick them off a bit."
One player who Lambert believes will definitely thrive is Ron Vlaar, his current captain.
Lambert told the Dutch ace an hour before kick-off against Swansea that he was skippering the side and he's backed the defensive ace to be a big hit with players and fans alike.
But once again, Lambert wouldn't commit to Vlaar being his long-term skipper, instead reiterating that he's captain "at the moment."
Another example of how Lambert only thinks presently, never futuristically.
"Ron is an incredible professional footballer on and off the pitch, he's absolutely brilliant," said Lambert.
"When I saw him playing for Feyenoord he was captain and that is a massive club, so I knew giving him the captaincy here wouldn't faze him at all. He's a top lad and a top player.
"I decided on Ron because I knew he could do it and I thought he was the right person because he can handle it on and off the pitch. I'll wait and see but at this minute he is the captain."
While Lambert told media representives that he was looking for the lime green shoots of recovery to continue away on the south-coast, one of Villa's celebrity supporters Mervyn King told the country's economists that he was hopeful that the green shoots of economic recovery were starting to show in the financial sector.
Interestingly he told the Channel 4 news team: "Supporting Aston Villa is much more stressful than being Governor of the Bank of England!"
Lambert was amused when he heard about King's comments, saying: "I don't know about that. It's great. Football puts you under stress and scrutiny. But I'd rather have it than not. I'll let him deal with that side. I'd rather do what I'm doing!"
Match: Southampton v Villa
AVTV DON'T MISS
Paul Lambert has no fresh injury concerns going into the clash against Southampton.
Marc Albrighton is back in training following a foot injury although the game at St Mary's is likely to come too soon for the Tamworth-born winger.
Richard Dunne [groin] is still out but new signing Christian Benteke is pushing for his first Villa start after his debut strike against Swansea last weekend.
New signings Gaston Ramirez and Maya Yoshida could make full debuts for the hosts after appearing as substitutes in last Saturday's 6-1 defeat by Arsenal.
Jos Hooiveld and Jack Cork are hoping to be fit to play a part against Villa.
Steven Davis is also primed for a meeting with his former club.
Tickets are still available for Saturday's game, priced at £35 for adults, £31 for 16 to 20-year-olds, O65s and full-time students, £20 for U17s and £14 to £32 for disabled supporters.
Call 0800 612 0970, get down to Villa Village or the City Centre store or buy online - click here.
Villa will be wearing their away kit of lime green shirts and navy blue shorts and socks.
LAST TIME OUT
Southampton 2-3 Villa
Villa have scored nine goals in their last four away matches at Southampton.
Of the 67 meetings between the two teams, Villa have won 27 times to Southampton's 20.
Villa ended a club record 13 league games without a win when they defeated Swansea last week.
The Saints are the only club in the Barclays Premier League without a point.
The South Coast outfit have not beaten Villa in their past five attempts.
Go to full match coverage for Southampton 4 - 1 Aston Villa (21st September 2012) >
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