Saturday media watch [08.02.14]: West Ham press previews
Birmingham Mail: Paul Lambert insists Randy Lerner's unseen efforts more than make up for him not being a visible presence at Villa Park - and revealed the secret billionaire had attended games this season. During a week in which Villa have made it quite clear the club is not for sale, Lambert highlighted Lerner's commitment to the claret and blue cause. And the manager believes Villa are fortunate to have a chairman who has invested so much into the club since taking control in August 2006, even if he prefers to keep a low profile.
Daily Star: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has slammed quick-fix club owners who sack their manager at the drop of a hat. Lambert's handshake with West Ham's Sam Allardyce today is an event bookies would have given you big odds on just a few weeks ago. Now, both look a lot safer in their jobs while the mayhem goes on all around them. Astonishingly, Big Sam is now the third longest serving Premier League boss with Lambert close behind in joint fourth spot. Seven top flight bosses have lost their jobs already this season and the Villa boss says it's just plain stupid. Michael Laudrup copped it this week as his love affair with Swansea hit the rocks.
Daily Mirror: Paul Lambert has told his Aston Villa critics that expecting success so soon is unrealistic and would entail "dangerous" quick fixes. The Villa boss, 44, is set to pen a new three-year contract after taking charge in June 2012. But some fans are unhappy after Villa only came 15th last term and are just five points off the relegation zone despite currently being 10th. Lambert only brought in two loan players in January to the frustration of supporters who have questioned the club's ambition. But he explained why he believes he merits a new deal ahead of today's visit from struggling West Ham. The Scot has adopted a policy of investing in younger, cheaper players for the long-term prosperity of the club. And he hopes Villa can kick on now they have a firmer financial footing after cutbacks to slash the bloated wage bill at owner Randy Lerner's request.
Daily Express: Paul Lambert is in talks with Aston Villa about a new three-year contract amid the carnage of managers being sacked elsewhere in the Premier League. Lambert's 18 months at Villa have been scarred by a club-record defeat, a tense relegation battle and losing to League Two and League One clubs in cup ties. But American owner Randy Lerner has stood by Lambert and is now ready to reward him with a new contract - even though he is only halfway through his current deal. Lambert describes as ridiculous stories that Lerner is ready to sell-up at Villa, saying: "I am in regular contact with Randy and he has never spoken about that. I'm sure I'd be one of the first to know. I don't buy into that."
FourFourTwo: Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has leapt to the defence of owner Randy Lerner amid speculation the American is looking to sell the club. The rumours concerning Lerner were strongly denied by Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner, who insisted the 51-year-old has no immediate plans to walk away. While Villa have worked on a tighter budget in the past two seasons, Lerner has invested heavily in the playing squad since his 2006 takeover. He has faced some criticism for not attending all the fixtures at Villa Park, but Lambert believes there is no issue regarding a lack of communication with supporters.
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BBC Sport: Manchester United captain Nemanja Vidic's departure from the club is a "mutual decision", Old Trafford manager David Moyes has said. The 32-year-old Serbia defender revealed on Friday that he would leave when his contract expires at the end of the current season.
Sky Sports: Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini has dismissed Jose Mourinho's claims that Chelsea are still not big players in the title race. Chelsea beat Pellegrini's team 1-0 at the Etihad Stadium on Monday night to draw level with second-placed City on points, two behind leaders Arsenal.
BBC Sport: New West Bromwich Albion boss Pepe Mel has added fellow Spaniard David Gomez to his coaching staff at The Hawthorns. Gomez previously worked with Mel at La Liga side Real Betis until they were sacked in December.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.