Everton v Villa match preview: Lambert points to winning feeling
Paul Lambert prides himself on his team playing football the right way.
Lambert has spoken at length since his arrival about always wanting to see his charges passing their way through matches.
Lambert is a purist but he's also a pragmatist.
Sitting down with journalists this week, he's spelled out his desire to pick up wins from now until the end of the season, as Villa eye safety in the Barclays Premier League.
He's not willing to sacrifice his philosophies but he will relax them as he orders his team to fight their way out of trouble, starting with Everton at Goodison Park on Saturday.
He said: "All that matters is winning.
"Winning covers a multitude of sins, it always does, and if you play poorly and win, you'd take it.
"You'd settle for that, playing poorly and winning.
"I know you are in the entertainment business but sometimes that doesn't get you anywhere.
"If you win, everyone goes away happy."
Villa didn't win against Newcastle but Lambert took heart from the second half display against the Magpies.
He has briefed his emerging side that the performance in that final period is the benchmark for the rest of the campaign.
He continued: "We have spoken about it. The lads have been great and they know what they have to go and do now.
"The way we played against Newcastle in the second half - that's the way to play football. They have to do it for 90 minutes now.
"We know we've got to sustain at that level for 90 minutes. Also, if we do get a knock, you don't have to panic. You just keep going. But that's the secret, to sustain it.
"The second-half performance against Newcastle was the standard they can get to. The lads took a lot of heart from that and we go again now.
"The players should be upbeat after the second half.
"If you're going to have a cloud over you then you may as well throw the towel in right away.
"It's not something we are going to do. You have to be upbeat in football and no matter how bad you are doing you have to remain confident you can do it.
"I believe they can do it and they do themselves too. We spoke about things and they've been positive."
He's backed Sylla to bring some bite to the central ground while he thinks Dawkins will surprise a few people with his all-action attacking game.
Both trained on the eve of the Everton clash and Lambert will have no issue in calling on them at Goodison Park.
He added: "I don't have any hesitation about playing them at all. They are raring to go. The two of them are ready.
"I wouldn't have any fear about throwing them in, whether it is against Everton or West Ham next weekend.
"They have brought freshness to everybody. I have spoken to them and they are both raring to go and do well."
The whole claret and blue family is hoping for the same.
Everton v Villa
Seats are still available.
You can contact 0800 612 0970 or visit Villa Park/New Street to pick up.
AVTV DON'T MISS
Karim El Ahmadi is available again after Morocco exited the Africa Cup of Nations.
Richard Dunne has suffered another setback with his ongoing groin problem.
Everton made a deadline day swoop for full-back John Stones, who could feature for the first time since signing from Barnsley.
Midfielder Darron Gibson is back from a thigh injury.
Villa will be wearing their traditional home kit of claret and blue.
This is the most-played fixture in the English top flight, with Villa winning 72 games to Everton's 71.
Everton's win at Villa Park earlier this season was their first against us in 13 league meetings.
Six of the last eight matches between the two teams have been drawn.
Phil Neville is poised to make his 300th appearance for Everton.
Leon Osman has scored a personal-best five Premier League goals against Villa.
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