Stoke v Villa preview: Lambert - We need to be 100% at it
Paul Lambert has called for his team to be "100% at it" against Stoke - after admitting the lads have dropped below that in the last two defeats to Fulham and Man Utd.
Boss Lambert insists his team cannot afford anything less than that maximum percentage if they are to get back on track at the Britannia Stadium.
He felt his team - after an impressive start - "didn't lay a glove" on the Red Devils in the previous encounter and now wants a high-tempo approach against the Potters.
He said: "We are a good side when we're 100% at it.
"We can't afford to be 90% on our game. We aren't that type of team.
"We have to be bang at it - I'm talking about enthusiasm, energy, drive. That's when we are a right good side.
"We have to get that back and not accept the last two performances.
"I just think as a team we haven't performed in the past couple of matches.
"We have to get that right back on track, starting on Saturday.
"The fans after the first 15 minutes against Man Utd would have said 'we're well in the game here.'
"The disappointing thing was we didn't lay a glove on them after they hit the two goals. That's one thing you can't do. Okay we came out second half and never wilted. But the horse had already bolted.
"Now it's about going again.
"You win a game and your Saturday and Sunday is good. You lose it and your Saturday and Sunday is horrendous. But you have to let it go on the Monday.
"You have to have that rule where you let it go. You lift it and get it going again.
"I have that philosophy. An experienced manager told me that. You have to move on. I took his advice. It keeps you focused.
"I don't dwell. Yes you're hurt like everyone else but you have to go to the next game and try to win.
"The good thing about the group is when they come back in, they are ready to go again."
Lambert believes there has been a mammoth overall improvement in his team one year on from the heavy festive losses of 2012.
But he accepts that his side, while being firm at the back, have perhaps been a little less ferocious going forward.
He thinks this will change, given time, hopefully at the Britannia Stadium.
He added: "Hopefully we will be exciting. That can turn. Last year we were getting a lot of pats on the back for our goalscoring exploits and criticised for conceding a lot of goals.
"This year we're getting praise for not conceding but we're not scoring. That's football.
"You have cycles. You come through it. You just have the belief.
"You need your components of the whole team working. If you can get that, you'll be exciting to watch.
"We have a problem at the top end but it will come.
"I have always been at clubs that expected to win. The best way to do it is to go on the front foot.
"I won't change my way of playing. We will try and do everything.
"Yes you might lack a bit of confidence at home due to the pressure but that will come. Away from home - like this weekend - we look freer."
Stoke v Villa
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Ron Vlaar remains a major doubt for the trip to Stoke.
Vlaar is still battling a calf problem that forced him off at half time during the victory at Southampton earlier this month.
It also kept the Villa skipper out of the defeats to Fulham and Man Utd.
Meanwhile, Chris Herd is set to return after missing out on the Utd clash with a facial injury.
Villa will be wearing their home kit of claret and blue.
Villa's record of just four away defeats in 2013 is bettered only by Manchester United (two) and Tottenham (three).
Paul Lambert has won more away league games (eight) as manager of Aston Villa than he has at home (seven).
Villa won at Stoke for the first time in six attempts in April 2013, when Matt Lowton scored the decisive goal.
Six of the last nine Premier League meetings between the sides have been drawn.
Peter Crouch scored six goals in 42 league and cup games for Aston Villa between 2002 and 2004.
Stoke's tally of 18 points is their lowest after 16 matches of a Premier League season.
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