Stoke v Villa: Lambert - We won't let last two defeats derail us
Paul Lambert insists Villa have come a long, long way in the space of a year.
Lambert says the losses to Fulham and Man Utd must not "be a bugbear" as they look to get back on track against Stoke on Saturday.
The Villa boss accepts those defeats "weren't good enough" but insists that the progress made overall has been "huge", saying the team and the club are in a "healthier place."
He said: "We weren't good enough against Fulham and Man Utd, that's the bottom line.
"But the start has been pretty decent.
"We came through an absolute nightmare this time last year. Goals were flying in from all over the place.
"We were getting beat three, four, five games in a row. We were knocked out of the Carling Cup and FA Cup.
"We are now in a healthier place. The progress is there. It has been huge.
"Yes we have lost a couple of games but on the whole this season we've been pretty decent.
"You can't let two defeats be a bugbear. You have to let them go."
Villa defeated Stoke 3-1 last time out at the Britannia Stadium, after Matt Lowton scored the goal of the season to win it late on.
The Potters may have a different manager in Mark Hughes, who has an altered football philosophy to the previous boss Tony Pulis, but Lambert still believes it will be a punishing encounter.
Despite this, he hopes the team's fab form on the road this term continues apace.
He added: "We go to Stoke now to try and win the game.
"I don't think it will be any different from last year.
"Mark took over from a very successful manager in Tony and added one or two of his own type. Whatever type of football Stoke are playing, it's a tough place.
"I just think Stoke is difficult regardless of who is in charge.
"Of course, away from home, we seem to be a lot freer. We don't set our stall out any differently than trying to win a game. On Saturday, we will try to win.
"But they seem to play with a bit more freedom."
He added: "Gabby is out. He has been on that fifth yellow card for a number of weeks. He picked it up. But Fabian coming back is a major plus because of the way he has been playing."
Meanwhile, Ron Vlaar is a major doubt with his calf injury.
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