Villa v Southampton: Lambert - Players must show mental strength
Paul Lambert has challenged his Villa players to prove they have the character to overcome their recent struggles.
Lambert is eager to see a reaction from his players in today's clash against Southampton after admitting the midweek Capital One Cup performance against Bradford was unacceptable.
The Villa boss believes his younger players will emerge as stronger characters if they can quickly put the team's recent setbacks behind them.
"It's not that long ago we were giving Man United a right hard game and Arsenal and Liverpool," he said.
"We're in a spell where things are not going our way but you have to get through it.
"In a stupid, roundabout way it will make you stronger.
"You have to go through periods in your career where you take the knocks.
"It's how you react after things. That's the mark of people, how they react to it.
"I think defeats can do that to people. But you have to get through it and it will make you better and it will make you stronger."
Lambert knows how quickly his team's outlook can change with a couple of positive results.
Villa have an important few weeks ahead with league games against the two teams that sit either side of them in the table, as well as big games in two cup competitions.
"It's the reaction - you try and judge people on how they will react to it," he said.
"I've got nothing but praise for them as people and the effort their giving me.
"If you look at the Premier League, I don't think there's much between ourselves and 11th.
"There's nothing in it. It's like two games. So anything can happen in this period.
"The cup semi final, we're still well in it, so we could get to Wembley."
Make sure you're there to back the lads against Southampton.