Villa v Malaga: Lambert - Time for us to step up a level
Paul Lambert has challenged his Villa players to step up a gear going into their toughest pre-season assignment to date against Champions League quarter-finalists Malaga.
Lambert is relishing his team's final warm-up game against the Spanish outfit, who finished sixth in La Liga as well as flourishing in Europe's premier cup competition last term.
An intense pre-season schedule has seen Villa face English and German lower league opposition, as well as League of Ireland side Shamrock Rovers.
And the Villa boss insists his players must be ready for a step up in class at Villa Park on Saturday.
"It's another game, another level we've got to step up to, but we're looking forward to it," said Lambert,
"They were Champions League quarter finalists last year so it will be really tough for us. But we'll see how we the lads get on."
Lambert is looking forward to leading his team out at Villa Park for the first time this season.
He reckons the clash will be a good opportunity for his six new signings to get used to their new surroundings.
"We'll be at our home stadium, the pitch will be lovely, the crowd will be coming right behind us and it will be a really good game and good atmosphere for people to come and enjoy.
"There's no real pressure on it, it's another friendly game before we start the following week.
"The news lads will know what it's about when they play at home. I'm not so sure what the crowd will be, but it will be pretty vibrant. It gets them used to the surroundings and what it's going to be like there."