Villa v Wigan match preview: Lambert keeping an even keel
Paul Lambert crammed a fair share of learning into his 12-month German football adventure.
While winning became second nature to that all-conquering Borussia Dortmund side of 1996-97, their ability to handle defeat was one of the most eye-opening aspects for Lambert.
He is set to draw on that German mentality once again this weekend as his Villa side look to banish the ghosts of what has been a trying festive period so far.
On the surface, Villa are hardly heading into this afternoon's Barclays Premier League clash against Wigan in the best of shape following resounding losses at the hands of Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur.
But Lambert is determined not to let those defeats become morale-sapping experiences for his young charges.
The ability to prevent such setbacks from festering was one of the key lessons the Villa boss heeded from his year in the company of Hitzfeld, Sammer, Mohler, Riedle and co.
"The great thing about being in German football was the mentality they had," says Lambert.
"I think that was the secret. It was a big learning curve for me, seeing how they dealt with defeats as a footballer and as a manager.
"You could see how they lifted things and how they put things to bed. They knew how to handle it.
"That changed my whole way of thinking, being there. That was me as a player.
"I played with guys that had won everything in football - World Cups, European Cups and every title under the sun.
"If it was good enough for them then I thought it's good enough for myself because I was nowhere near as good as they were. My mentality had to change."
Dortmund also taught Lambert to keep an even keel in the aftermath of victory or defeat.
This perhaps explains why there has been little change in his calm demeanour during two hugely contrasting weeks for Villa.
While there was little chance of his players being allowed to believe they were the finished article after convincing wins over Liverpool and Norwich, the manager will refuse to let them feel that their world has caved in following the events of the past seven days.
"If you're like a bull in a china shop, after Chelsea you'd be an absolute maniac," he said.
"I don't think that would pay dividends. There's a time and a place where you have to let your feelings known.
"But you have to pick yourself up. There's no place for rolling over and accepting it. I know where we are in the league, I know what's above us and what's below us.
"I always try and look forward and never try and look back. That's why I always say, even when we win, I never dwell on it."
Lambert remains confident there will be no apprehension among his players when they return to action against the Latics.
"I don't think it's a team where we'll just go there and be frightened by it," he added.
"We'll meet it full on, I'm pretty sure that's what they'll do.
"They'll get there and give it a right good go. You pick them up, you have to.
"Nobody likes to get beat, whether it's 8-0, 1-0, 2-0, nobody wants to get beat.
"That's football all over, you want to try and rectify it and try and win the next game."
Villa v Wigan Athletic
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AVTV DON'T MISS
Villa have a number of injury concerns going into the Wigan clash.
Darren Bent [hamstring], Gabby Agbonlahor [hip], Ron Vlaar [calf], Andreas Weimann [calf] and Charles N'Zogbia [knee] remain doubtful.
Nathan Baker also joined them on the treament table after limping off with a hamstring problem during the Tottenham defeat.
Long-term absentees Richard Dunne [groin] and Gary Gardner [knee] are still out of action.
Meanwhile, Fabian Delph is suspended after picking up his fifth booking.
Wigan also have their share of injury problems.
Adrian Lopez [hamstring, Antolin Alcaraz [hamstring], Ben Watson [broken leg], Ryo Miyaichi [ankle] and Albert Crusat [knee] are all ruled out.
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Villa win - 6/5
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LAST TIME OUT
Villa 2-0 Wigan
Villa have not lost three successive Premier League games in a single season since December 2010.
Defeat would equal Villa's record number of league losses in a calendar year [18, set in 1994 and 1999].
Wigan have lost five and drawn one of their last six top-flight games.
The Latics have failed to keep a clean sheet in their last nine Premier League matches, conceding two or more goals in eight of those fixtures.
Roberto Martinez's side have conceded the opening goal in 13 Premier League games this season, losing 12 of those matches.