Millwall v Villa preview: Lambert set to go "back to basics"
Paul Lambert says his Villa players will "fight like hell" to reverse their fortunes - as he prepares to adopt a "back to basics approach".
Villa have an opportunity to quickly put the Bradford semi-final disappointment behind them when they face Millwall in Friday night's FA Cup fourth round tie.
Lambert wants to see more grit from his side in a bid to cut out the elementary mistakes which have proved costly in recent weeks.
Ahead of the trip to The Den, the manager's message was simple: "We have to start earning the right to play."
And he insists getting the basics right is something that needs to be addressed immediately.
"You have to - I don't think we are ever good enough to say we are going to play a certain style of football," said Lambert.
"We are not good enough to do that yet. You are going to have to earn the right to play against teams and compete against them.
"If ever there is a time to earn the right, it's just now.
"There is only one way to do it - you have to fight like hell and win a few games.
"But there are a few other clubs in the same category who will probably be thinking the same.
"You are going to have to fight like anything to do it."
Two days have passed since the Capital One Cup semi-final exit to Bradford and Lambert is ready to draw a line under the disappointment.
While the Villa boss admits the hurt was palpable throughout the club but he says the task now is to lift everyone for the latest cup assignment.
"I'm not sitting here thinking this is brilliant, this is great, this is acceptable," he said.
"You relive it a lot of times, the hurt and despair of getting knocked out, that's the reality of it.
"But there is a point when I've got to try and let it go but at this moment it is still not a great feeling."
Addressing Villa's defensive problems at set-pieces is high on Lambert's agenda after they were undone at crucial moments by Bradford and West Brom.
The boys in claret and blue kept clean sheets against Arsenal, Reading and Stoke City at the end of 2012 and the manager wants to rediscover that sturdiness.
"We can practice every day in training and do what we are doing and work on corners and free-kicks, for and against," he added.
"But once you are out there, you are relying on the individual to go and compete with people and try and put their head on it.
"At the moment we are not doing that. But you just have to keep going and battling away.
"Sometimes the delivery is far too good but the ones we've conceded of late, we are not dealing with bog standard balls.
"That is the frustrating thing. If you can handle Stoke and the way they play, there is nothing to say you can't do it anywhere else.
"It wasn't that long ago when we beat Norwich and Liverpool people were saying 'God almighty, this is a good side and going to do X, Y and Z' and five, six, seven games later it is not the same.
"You have to take the rough with the smooth in football. You can't be too up or too down."
Millwall v Villa
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Villa are set to welcome back Ashley Westwood and Jordan Bowery, who were cup tied for the midweek Capital One Cup clash against Bradford.
Karim El Ahmadi is still away with Morocco at the Africa Cup of Nations, while Nathan Baker is missing with a hamstring injury.
Richard Dunne trained again on the eve of the clash having recovered from a long-term groin problem.
Villa will be wearing their lime green away kit.
LAST TIME OUT
Aston Villa 2-0 Millwall
This is the 28th meeting between Villa and Millwall in all competitions.
Villa have triumphed 13 times, while there have been eight draws and six Millwall victories.
The London club won the last FA Cup meeting - a 1-0 replay victory in January 1986.
The boys in claret and blue earned a 9-1 success over the Lions in the FA Cup in January 1946.
Millwall earned a 1-0 win over Preston to book their fourth round spot, while Villa defeated Ipswich 2-1.
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