Wednesday media watch [28.08.13 AM]: Lambert focused on progress
Express & Star: Boss Paul Lambert today revealed his League Cup pain and admitted Aston Villa's Bradford bashing was the worst point of his reign. The claret and blues were dumped out of the Capital One Cup semi-final by the League Two side last season. They lost 4-3 on aggregate to plunge the campaign into crisis before they won their relegation battle. Villa are looking to erase those memories when Rotherham visit in the second round tonight. Lambert said: "Personally the worst moment? Oh for heaven's sake yes, because the results in the league weren't even going for us either, so you had a double hit. There's no doubt whatsoever. I never blamed the team."
Daily Mail: Paul Lambert said Aston Villa will not be taking the Capital One Cup lightly following their bitter disappointment in the same competition last season. Villa's boss described the semi-final defeat to Bradford City, then of League Two, as 'huge' and said that he will be fielding a 'strong' XI ahead of the visit of Rotherham United. Villa lost the semi-final 4-3 on aggregate to the Bantams and Lambert was clearly hurt by the experience. He said: "The disappointment after Bradford was huge. Everyone thought it was a foregone conclusion. We went to Manchester City, Norwich City and Swindon Town, all difficult places to win, and so it was a blow. We were losing matches in the Premier League as well but fair play to the lads, they turned it around."
Daily Star: Paul Lambert admits he is still haunted by the memory of last year's Capital One Cup humiliation at the hands of Bradford. Lambert's Aston Villa side tossed away their big Wembley chance by crashing out in a semi-final humbling by League Two opponents. He is promising to put out a strong line-up at home to League One side Rotherham tonight, revealing that he has rarely felt worse than he did after the agony the competition served up for him last year. Lambert said: "It was my lowest point since I have been at the club - there's no doubt about that. About that time results weren't going for us in the league either, so it was like a double hit." Villa have started this season by taking three points from three tough games against Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool.
Daily Express: Paul Lambert wants to rid himself of his "lowest moment" at Aston Villa with another cup run. Villa reached the Capital One Cup semi-finals last season but went out to Bradford City over two legs. Tonight they get a second chance at home to Rotherham, with boss Lambert anxious to wipe the slate clean.
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert insists Villa have the "bit between their teeth" with the players anxious to play against Rotherham despite a demanding start to the Premier League season. Lambert has pledged to field a strong side against the League One club when their Capital One Cup campaign kicks off with Wednesday night's second-round tie at Villa Park. Antonio Luna is the only fresh injury concern with an unspecified knock, while Nathan Baker is still unavailable after twisting his ankle on the opening day of the season. And the Villa manager reckons a victory at Arsenal and defeats to Chelsea and Liverpool in the first week have not dimmed his squad's enthusiasm for tonight's match. Six of the players who started against the Reds could keep their places against Steve Evans' Millers as Lambert warns against a repeat of last season's cup exits to lower league teams. Villa crashed out of the League Cup with a two-leg semi-final defeat to League Two Bradford and tumbled out of the FA Cup fourth round at Championship Millwall days later. With two-and-a-half weeks before their next league fixture at home to Newcastle on September 14, Lambert is prepared to play a host of first-teamers.
Independent: For some, Aston Villa hosting Rotherham United in the second round of the Capital One Cup may be of little interest - a low-key midweek run-out for Paul Lambert's team, a fun quick night on the big stage for the third-tier visitors. But for others, this means a lot. This tie evokes history, as it was the first ever final of the League Cup, in 1961. It evokes glory, for those who were part of Joe Mercer's good, young Villa side - "Mercer's Minors" - who won 3-2 over two legs after extra-time in the second game.
ESPN: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes Christian Benteke has picked up where he left off last season despite admitting the striker has still not yet reached his best. The Aston Villa striker has scored three times in his club's first three Premier League games to carry on the rampage that made him one of the sensations of the 2012-13 campaign. Benteke is hoping not to be one of the players left out of Wednesday's Capital One Cup tie at home to Rotherham but his manager insists he is nowhere near firing on all cylinders.
Rotherham Advertiser: Rotherham United's Mark Bradley can't wait to lock horns with Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup tonight. A repeat of the 1961 final, the second round clash gives the unbeaten Millers a chance to take a big Premier League scalp having already put out bitter rivals Sheffield Wednesday in the last round. Defender Bradley said: "We want to try and prove ourselves at a high level and it's obviously a great game to go and play in. "Hopefully we can go there, give a good account of ourselves and get a result to take into the league game at Notts County on Saturday."
Yorkshire Post: Steve Evans is no under no illusions as to the task awaiting Rotherham United if they are to spring a cup shock on their first visit to Villa Park in over 40 years. The Millers manager has likened the challenge in front of his side to scaling Ben Nevis in trainers. Striker Danny Nardiello will sit out the game due to a one-match ban after his dismissal for two bookable offences in the weekend draw with Shrewsbury. Evans revealed that the forward was almost in tears in the dressing room on Saturday after realising he had let his team-mates down. For the rest of his playing colleagues, it is a rare place in the national limelight with Evans and his side determined to make the most of it. Evans and his Villa counterpart Paul Lambert share an affinity with Celtic, but that is where the similarities end between the clubs. Evans, who has revealed he is chasing two or three signings before the transfer window closes, including a player currently in the Scottish Premier League, said of tonight's test, said: "It will be like climbing Ben Nevis in our training shoes."
Sheffield Star: Rotherham United players who aspire to play higher will get the chance to show they are capable of doing so when the Millers take on Aston Villa in the Capital One Cup tonight. That's the view of Millers boss Steve Evans as he prepares to take his side to the Premier League club tonight in an attempt to spring another cup shock. "It's a great stage for our players to perform and those who have played higher than where we are now or who aspire to play higher, get the perfect opportunity to showcase their talents," he said. "We have a talented squad and the players are looking forward to it but we're not going there just to enjoy the night, it's about going to spring another surprise. "Yes, we may end up getting beaten but if that happens, it's how we've performed. I want to see a performance from us."
Clubcall: Nathan Baker and Antonio Luna are doubts for Aston Villa ahead of Wednesday's Capital One Cup second-round tie at home to Rotherham. Baker has been sidelined since sustaining an ankle injury at Arsenal on the opening day of the Premier League season, while fellow defender Luna picked up a knock in Saturday's defeat to Liverpool. Charles N'Zogbia remains a long-term absentee because of an Achilles injury as boss Paul Lambert has vowed to send out a strong side as Villa look to make up for the disappointment of last season's semi-final exit to lower league Bradford.
Daily Mail: Aston Villa and Southampton have launched bids to sign towering Porto defender Abdoulaye Ba on loan. The Portuguese want a £400,000 loan fee for the 22-year-old centre-back who is a Senegal international. Villa have shown interest in the past as have West Ham. Porto though may yet cancel a deal if Chelsea make a late bid for Eiaquim Managala. Villa's Enda Stevens has joined Notts County on loan.
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BBC Sport: Tottenham are reluctant to sell Gareth Bale to Real Madrid until they have signed a replacement for the 24-year-old Wales forward. The Spanish giants have made a world-record £86m bid for Bale but Spurs, who have been linked with Roma's Erik Lamela, say no deal has been agreed.
Sky Sports: Arsene Wenger has admitted he 'likes' Juan Mata, but has questioned whether Chelsea would be willing to sell the playmaker to Arsenal. Mata's future has been the subject of speculation throughout the summer and he was linked with a move to Manchester United as part of Chelsea's bid to try to sign Wayne Rooney.
BBC Sport: Manchester United's Wayne Rooney has no plans to force a move to Chelsea by handing in a transfer request. On Monday, Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho gave the 27-year-old 48 hours to decide whether he wants to join the Blues. Chelsea have already made two unsuccessful bids for Rooney.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.