Villa v QPR preview: Lambert - We must handle the pressure
Paul Lambert has spoken many times of his pride at managing Aston Villa.
He has said that the job comes with ample amounts of pressure because of the size and prestige of the fabulous football club.
This is, after all, the club that the Daily Mirror described as "the first megapower".
While he admitted he thrives on the weight of expectation, he knows a key aspect of the basement battle is how his team handles the stress and strain.
Lambert has today backed his side to cope with the load and continue to play with frisky ambition in the closing weeks of the season, starting with QPR on Saturday.
He said: "It's how you handle pressure. If you can handle pressure, then you will be alright.
"We always have pressure home and away because of the following that comes to watch us.
"It is a big club, big fan base and if you have that, you have to handle pressure. You'd rather have that than not have it at all!"
Lambert also spoke of the importance of positivity in camp.
Villa sit three points above the drop zone ahead of the final nine games of the campaign.
But you wouldn't think so when you enter the sanctity of Bodymoor Heath, where Lambert keeps spirits high at all times.
Lambert would be excused for putting on a false front to boost the confidence of his players and then experience sleepless nights as the reality of the situation plays on his mind.
But this manager is optimistic, positive and focused on the fact that his troops will undoubtedly win the battle for survival.
He said: "I don't really talk about relegation. We just focus on the game that is ahead.
"I've got great belief still that we are going to be fine and we will do everything we can to stay up.
"Relegation is not something I've thought about. I always keep positive.
"If you think negative it preys on your mind. You know when results are not going your way but you try and meet challenges head on and I've always tried to be positive. I've been like that since I went to Germany.
"We are in the mix with a lot of other teams. It doesn't prey on my mind though.
"I always think positive thoughts that we will be okay.
"We don't look like a team playing with fear or trepidation and are not making chances. Then you would start to worry. We look like a team that is capable of winning games."
Lambert knows the QPR game will be tough as the basement battle hots up but the 43-year-old has great confidence in his team to go out and get a result.
He continued: "The lads have been great this week.
"If we win this, it will be such a terrific few weeks for us and we are certainly playing well enough going into it.
"We know how hard it will be but we are playing well enough. There are fine margins at this time of the season and there are a lot of teams involved in this whole thing.
"The most important thing for me is we are going into the game with the vibrancy to go and win it.
"We are playing well and I don't have any worries about going into the game with any fear.
"We don't look like a side who can't get a result or one with no togetherness or one not creating chances. That is far from it.
"We've drawn a few games we should have seen through but we are playing well enough to win.
"QPR have brought in new players in January. We played well down there first half and QPR did the same second half. This has the makings of a good game."
Villa look set to be backed by over 38,000 fans as supporters rally around the team in the wake of tub-thumping words from Lambert following the win at Reading.
Lambert asked the crowd to drive the team on against Rangers and he's been thrilled with the way the faithful have reacted financially in the ticket office to his rallying call.
He added: "We know only one way to play and that is to go and try and win.
"We will have a brilliant crowd which will be right behind us. The crowd at Reading was fantastic too. They will drive us on and the onus is on the home team to make the running.
"The crowd will be right behind us like they have all season. I think the atmosphere will be great. We will go into the game looking really good at the moment.
"The crowd see what is happening and they are right with it. Come Saturday our crowd will be right behind us and it's up to us to give us something back."
Villa v QPR
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AVTV DON'T MISS
Villa have no fresh injury concerns.
QPR are boosted by the return to fitness of Julio Cesar and Adel Taarabt, while Armand Traore's calf strain will be assessed.
Bobby Zamora again looks set to play despite carrying hip and ankle knocks.
GENTING BETTING GUIDE
Villa to win - 6/5
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Villa will be wearing their traditional home kit of claret and blue.
The two clubs have met 41 times in the league and never shared a goalless draw.
The last three meetings have ended all-square.
QPR have never won at Villa Park in the Premier League.
Christian Benteke has scored six league goals in his last seven outings.
Charles N'Zogbia could make the 200th league start of his career.
QPR are yet to concede a penalty this season.
Loic Remy has scored three league goals in four starts for QPR.
Find out about all the activities pre-match before the big game with QPR.
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