Friday media watch [25.04.14 PM]: Lambert keeps the faith
Sky Sports: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert still has faith in his side's attacking prowess despite their recent barren spell in front of goal. Villa have scored only three times in their last five matches - a run of four straight defeats halted by a 0-0 draw with Southampton at Villa Park last weekend. They have been sucked towards the Premier League relegation zone as a result and go into Saturday's game at 13th-placed Swansea just five points above the bottom three. But Lambert is backing his players to handle the pressure at the Liberty Stadium, stressing he retains every confidence in their ability to deliver a winning performance.
Express & Star: Marc Albrighton is ready to listen and learn - from the man he credits with changing his career. The winger has heaped praise on Gordon Cowans after the Villa legend stepped up to help Paul Lambert during the club's crisis. Cowans and Shay Given replaced the suspended assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa during a turbulent last week. The banned duo are the subject of an internal investigation after claims of alleged bullying as Villa fight for their Premier League survival. Just five points above the bottom three ahead of tomorrow's trip to Swansea, Villa have called on Cowans for aid. Albrighton was a striker in the academy under Cowans before the former midfielder turned him into a winger. And the 24-year-old is eager to work closely with the coach again after the effect he has had on his career.
Sporting Life: Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert still has faith in his side's attacking prowess. Villa have struggled for goals of late, with their last five matches - a run of four straight defeats halted by a 0-0 draw - seeing them score only three times. They have been sucked towards the Barclays Premier League relegation zone and appear in considerable need of the boost of a victory in Saturday's clash with Swansea at the Liberty Stadium. But Lambert is backing his players to handle the pressure, stressing he retains every confidence in their ability to pose a threat going forward and deliver a winning performance.
FourFourTwo: Shay Given is relishing his new temporary role as assistant manager at Aston Villa but is itching to continue playing. The former Republic of Ireland goalkeeper was thrust into the role as Paul Lambert's number two on an interim basis after the Scot's assistant Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa were suspended by the club last week. And his first experience assisting of Lambert was encouraging, as Villa earned a spirited goalless draw at home to Southampton to arrest a run of four straight league defeats. Given has been isolated from the first-team picture this season and spent a spell on loan at Middlesbrough, with Brad Guzan cementing his spot as first choice and Jed Steer largely chosen as understudy. The 38-year-old is now happy to be involved in his coaching capacity and revealed his first task was to play a joke on his fellow goalkeepers.
Sky Sports: Aston Villa goalkeeper Shay Given has admitted that he is likely to leave the club in the summer. The 38-year-old is currently manager Paul Lambert's third choice behind Brad Guzan and Jed Steer and has not featured in a league game for the Villans since August 2012. Earlier this month, the former Manchester City player was made part of Lambert's coaching staff for the rest of the season following the suspensions of assistant managers Ian Culverhouse and Gary Karsa. Given already has his UEFA A and B licences and will start on his pro-licence this summer, but he is keen on prolonging his playing career. The former Republic of Ireland international performed impressively during his loan spell at Championship outfit Middlesbrough earlier this season, keeping 10 clean sheets in 16 games. Given has now said that he could leave Villa at the end of the season and believes that he can be a second-choice goalkeeper at a different Premier League club.
Clubcall: Fabian Delph "can understand" the Aston Villa fans who have booed the team while he thanked them for the way "they've stuck with us". The 24-year-old has enjoyed one of his best seasons at Villa Park since he was snapped up by former boss Martin O'Neill from Leeds United in summer 2009. However, Paul Lambert's side have disappointed on the pitch as a whole, especially at Villa Park where they have won only five of their 18 games to date with a record that is only better than Fulham and Sunderland. Last Saturday's goalless home draw against Southampton ended a run of four successive defeats which has pulled Villa back towards the relegation places as they travel to Swansea on Saturday just five points clear of the bottom three. As a result Delph is not surprised that some Villa fans have chosen to vent their anger at the players of late and he claims he would be doing the same if he had to sit watching what has been served up on the pitch.
Express & Star: Boss Paul Lambert today admitted he is in the dark over Randy Lerner's plans to sell Villa - but vowed he wants to stay. The claret and blues chief held talks with the chairman on Tuesday after Lerner jetted into Birmingham. Lerner released a statement on Sunday saying he will deal with the takeover speculation at the end of the season. He is expected to sell but Lambert insisted he was given no clues over the owner's plans for the club.
Best of the Rest
BBC Sport: Interim boss Ryan Giggs says taking charge of Manchester United is "the proudest moment" of his life. The 40-year-old Welshman is manager for the season's final four Premier League games after David Moyes's sacking.
Sky Sports: Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has ruled out the possibility of him succeeding David Moyes as the next manager of Manchester United. The Portuguese coach was reportedly in the running to take over at Old Trafford last summer following the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
BBC Sport: Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers says he has "never slept better" and insists all the pressure is on rivals Chelsea. The Reds, who face Jose Mourinho's side on Sunday, need seven points from their last three games to guarantee a first league title since 1989-90. Victory at Anfield would also end Chelsea's hopes.
*The extracts on this page are taken from various newspapers and media outlets. They do not necessarily reflect the views of Aston Villa.
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