Villa v Swansea preview: Lambert - We need to show bravery
Paul Lambert has revealed Villa are a "million miles" away from where he wants to take them.
Lambert has grand plans for the club he arrived at in June 2012.
But, as with the in vogue teaching of mindfulness - where you're encouraged to reconnect with the present moment - Lambert knows that those big dreams will be only be realised if his team make some progress in the short-term.
He emphasised in his pre-match briefing ahead of the Swansea match that he doesn't enjoy the losing feeling - just like the fans.
And he called for his team to up the ante and give those loyal supporters something to cheer about.
He said: "There's no doubt we're in a run that's not great for us. It's certainly a run that none of us want.
"But you roll your sleeves up and don't give in to it. You keep on going. You keep on trying to turn it around. It's up to us to do that.
"Overall, we are a million miles away from where I want to be, that's for sure.
"I don't want to be sitting here like this every week.
"We are in midtable, albeit, I accept, three points off the bottom three.
"But you can cut the table in half at the moment.
"It's a challenge I am not going to wilt under. I will fight it.
"You can't blame the fans. You expect it. They are entitled.
"They pay their money. They graft and it's hard-earned. They come to support the team.
"We can't be critical of the crowd. It's too big a club. They pay their money and they are entitled to voice their opinion.
"From my point of view, I know what it's like. I have played with big clubs as a footballer.
"I was never exempt from criticism. I remember we lost my first three games at Celtic. The fans were telling me 'Go back to Dortmund.' That was 60,000 telling me I wasn't good enough until I bedded in and got a grip of it. I know criticism.
"This team is younger. When they are younger, they need that support.
"You - as a manager - try to state your experiences of it and what you think.
"But it's about bravery. Some people talk about it in terms of going in for tackles 10 feet high, blood guts and thunder.
"But bravery is about taking the ball in front of thousands of fans in an area where others would shy away from it. As long as they don't stop doing that. They must always try to do the right things.
"Now it's about giving the fans something. Football is about giving fans something to cheer.
"The support level is huge here. But we are doing everything we can to take it forward and build it."
Lambert admits the prospect of facing the Swans this weekend brings back memories of the terrific 2-0 win over them earlier in the previous season in B6.
Lambert would love a repeat but knows Michael Laudrup's elegant side - on a similiar run as Villa in the league - will be a very tough proposition.
He added: "It will be a totally different game to the Palace one.
"They are a good footballing side. Michael has done great there.
"We had two good games against them last season. They have a different style but it will be a tough game.
"They are a good football side so you can't afford to give them time on the ball. It will be a tough game but we have to get on that front foot.
"We played pretty well against them at Villa Park. Matt Lowton scored that great goal and it was Christian Benteke's first for the club too. We will try to do that again.
"Swansea are in that same run as us at the moment. If you ask Michael, he would say the same as me - 'it's a big game for both.'
"The short turnaround between games means you don't have long to dwell on the Palace loss. I understand that everyone is downbeat but you have to get going.
"You have to look up, grab it and take it on. You can't wilt because it will take you under. We will meet this challenge head on."
Villa v Swansea
Benteke [knee] has been absent for Stoke and Palace matches.
Vlaar [calf], meanwhile, has missed the Fulham, Man Utd, Stoke and Palace games aswell as the second half at Southampton.
Paul Lambert hopes to welcome back Benteke at Sunderland on New Year's Day although the return date for Vlaar is less clear.
Ashley Westwood returns from suspension.
Swans quartet - Michu, Nathan Dyer, Michel Vorm and Garry Monk - are all sidelined.
Villa will be wearing their traditional home kit of claret and blue.
BetBright matchday odds:
Villa to win - 7/4 Draw - 21/10
There's more fun in store ahead of Villa's clash with Swansea as B6 hosts another family funday.
Following on from the successes of previous fundays, another one is set to take place before the Barclays Premier League match with the Swans.
Enjoy the build-up to the game by checking out a host of free activities in the Villa Park Indoor Academy from 12noon.
Mascots Hercules and Bella will be coming along too!
Disabled entrance access at the front - or on the road side - of the Indoor Academy.
Former ace defender Kenny Swain will be signing copies of his new book - A Game of Three Halves - on Saturday.
Swain - a key member of the 1981 League Championship and 1982 European Cup teams - will be in the Indoor Academy between 1.30pm and 2.30pm.
His official biography is a riveting read and also includes a great colour section of formerly unreleased pictures.
His book is £16.99 and available to purchase on the day.
The EA SPORTS dugout will be at Villa Park once again on Saturday.
You will be able to play their premier football game - FIFA 14 - from 11.30am.
The dugout - their extensive games hub - will be situated just outside Trinity Road.
As well as FIFA 14, you will also be able to try your hand at Need for Speed.
Villa's match console is the ultimate place to be to follow the game with Swansea.
Tune in from 12noon and be part of the claret and blue conversation.
Before the game starts, the match console will also contain pre-match analysis, interactive polls and a free video package previewing the game.
During the match itself, you can follow the action and interact with Paul Brown and Dan Harrison in the match console.
Paul and Dan will bring you blow by blow action as the game unfolds as well as the thoughts of fans logging-in from all over the planet.
After the game, the match console contains a game report, manager's verdict, stat pack and a picture gallery.
You can boost the coverage of the game in the subscription-only area of the match console.
Here, you can enjoy live audio commentary, with Jack Woodward joined by Tony Morley on the microphone throughout the 90 minutes.
Also, in our subscription area, you get a video interview with Paul Lambert and the star players from the game and extended highlights too.
You can enjoy two months of AVTV for the price of one month - £4.99 - or £44.99 for the year - sign up today here.
Go to full match coverage for Aston Villa 1 - 1 Swansea (27th December 2013) >
Adobe Flash Plug-in Needed
This website requires a Adobe Flash plug-in. Please download the latest version of the Flash plug-in by clicking here