Villa v Southampton preview: Lambert - Pressure will drive us on
Paul Lambert admits the pressure is on his Villa side going into Saturday's game against Southampton - but he hopes to use it as a positive.
Lambert believes his players will be driven on by the prospect of avenging the midweek Capital One Cup defeat at Bradford.
Villa into the Saints encounter just one place and a single point above their opponents.
The manager knows his team will be under pressure to perform after Tuesday's disappointment at Valley Parade.
But he insists they have the wherewithal to handle it.
"I'd rather have the pressure than not," said Lambert.
"You've got to have pressure to perform and that is the making of football.
"If you have pressure on your shoulders every time and know you've got to perform, that is no different for the lads who are here.
"You have to be ready for it. The onus is always on the home team to make the running.
"If you win that, you might go up a couple of places but that is how tight the league is.
"You have to be ready for everything that is coming your way."
Lambert insists he and the players understand the pain felt by supporters after the semi-final first leg at Bradford.
But the Scotsman is hopefully of making amends against the Saints.
"We're feeling probably the exact same way the Aston Villa fans are feeling," he said.
"They are hurt by the embarrassment of getting beat the way they did. We have another leg to turn it around.
"We shouldn't have conceded the goals we did and that was the most disappointing thing.
"There was enough chances to win two games and you have got to take them.
"It's a huge club with a huge fanbase. The fans travelled that distance and they had work in the morning.
"I'm really disappointed for them. The team is so close to got back to Wembley and we never turned up and never performed.
"We have got another chance to turn that round."
Lambert has kept the mood in the camp upbeat by reminding his players about their pre-Christmas exploits when they earned stunning victories at Liverpool and Norwich.
"That's just because of the defeats," the gaffer said.
"That's the same group that went to Norwich and Anfield and won.
"You can hide behind a lot of things and make excuses. I know the game and how it works and how it can go.
"I'm trying to be positive and trying to keep the team up the best I can and you need the crowd.
"I understand people's frustrations because I'd be exactly the same."
Villa v Southampton
Snap up your seats now by visiting the ticket offices at Villa Village or New Street, or by buying online.
AVTV DON'T MISS
Gaffer's press conference - watch now
Villa boss Paul Lambert is set to welcome back Brett Holman [virus] and Ashley Westwood [ankle ligaments], who missed the cup games against Ipswich and Bradford.
Ron Vlaar has also resumed training, although the Saints clash could come too soon for the Dutch defender.
Darren Bent [knee], Chris Herd [foot] and Marc Albrighton [foot] have all been ruled out.
Southampton pair Jose Fonte and Adam Lallana are out with knee problems.
Emmanuel Mayuka is away with Zambia at the Africa Cup of Nations.
GENTING BETTING GUIDE
Villa win - 6/4
Check out our FAQs on betting.
Don't forget, if you win your bet, cash payment is available after the game from the North Stand payout office, which is open an hour after the game finishes.
However you are also able collect your winnings online.
Good luck and let's hope for a great result!
Villa will be wearing their traditional home kit of claret and blue.
LAST TIME OUT
Villa 2-0 Southampton
Christian Benteke has won more aerial battles than any other top-flight player this season 
Rickie Lambert has scored in three of Southampton's last four Premier League away games.
Southampton's first Premier League win of the campaign came against Villa in September.
It was Villa's only defeat to the Saints in their last six league games.
The Saints have kept clean sheets in all three of their Premier League wins at Villa Park.
Make sure you're there to back the lads against Southampton.