Gaffer's verdict: Lambert proud despite late loss
Paul Lambert was proud of his players despite the 2-1 home loss to Chelsea.
Villa played some sparkling football throughout the ninety minutes and looked odds-on to win when one-up and a man-up at the break, Ramires given his marching orders.
But the dismissal of Christian Benteke was a "huge turning point" according to the boss, who said the Blues should have finished the game with nine men, pointing to the cynical foul on Yacouba Sylla by John Terry.
Despite the defeat, Lambert was pleased with the effort, application and quality on show from his team.
Asked if he thought Villa should have won, he said: "In my opinion, yes.
"I thought we were excellent. I really did. I thought we looked great and had chances.
"We were against a right top side. We gave it an unbelievable effort there. We gave it everything.
"The lads were great. At 1-0 we looked so comfortable.
"The sending-off was huge. It gave Chelsea a lift. Up until then we looked great.
"But the lads have given us absolutely everything.
"I can't ask for anymore. The way the lads have been performing over the last few months, they have been excellent.
"But with Christian, it's the same situation as the lad Nani at Man Utd against Real Madrid. Christian is looking at the ball.
"Look at the one where Terry takes Sylla down. The full-back is not getting in on time. He's the last man.
"The referee has got to see that. Sylla is through.
"The referee should have seen that the way I have seen it and the way 40,000 saw it.
"Sylla is through on goal. Cole could only get round when Sylla's gone down."
Lambert paid tribute to the supporters after the final home game of the campaign.
He continued: "I have always said it, the crowd have been fantastic since I have been here. They have been right behind us from day one.
"They are knowledgeable enough to see what we're trying to do. They are right with it from day one.
"The support was fantastic today, right behind us.
"You need the crowd with you. You need that support behind you. You have to have them on your side.
"The Villa crowd have been fantastic with me since I have been here."
Lambert admits Benteke's absence against Wigan will be a blow - but also an opportunity for someone else to come in and impress on the final day.
He added: "I think when you lose any player to a red card it's a blow. The way he's been playing, his form has been huge.
"But it's someone's gain and they will give it everything they've got."
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