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Villa v Swansea press conference: Lambert on Benteke and Westwood

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Villa v Swansea press conference: Lambert on Benteke and Westwood

Paul Lambert faced reporters in his pre-match press conference ahead of Swansea.

Please find below the collected best bits from his preview with the media.

Click here to watch the FULL television briefing with Lambert on AVTV.

Q] Has the international break been frustrating?

A] No, not really. It's not something I worry about. It's the same for everyone. That's football. World Cup qualifiers are important to everyone's country and you just go with it. That's the rules.

Q] Did you start to see the Villa you want against Newcastle?

A] I thought we were really good. I thought we played really well. It is a hard place to go at the best of times. It was a little frustrating not to get all the points but it's a great saying if you can't win, make sure you don't lose it.

We might have got it. I think Alan Pardew said that himself. But the way we played up there was really pleasing.

Q] What do you make of Swansea?

They play some very good football. They have carried on from where they left off last year. Michael Laudrup has gone in and changed one or two things but they are a very good side. I've not been surprised by the start they made after last year. It's our home game and we have to get after them.

Q] What will Christian Benteke bring to the squad?

A] I think he will be a handful, I watched him the other night against Croatia and he was excellent, the way he played.

He is only a young lad, he is only 21, but he will be a handful for us.

Q] How well can Ashley Westwood do in the Barclays Premier League?

The opportunity is there for him. I said to him, the opportunity is there for you to go and grab it.

In training, he has been excellent. It's when the match starts that you have to step up to the plate which I'm sure he will do.

Q] Not much time for players to learn in Barclays Premier League. They have to step up?

A] It's unforgiving. The opportunity is there for them, now they have to go and do it.

Q] You have found a few gems in the lower leagues?

A] I hope so for the lads themselves, because you want them to do well for themselves and not just for the football club.

You have to have someone who has the belief in you to give you that opportunity. I was in the same boat myself, I needed someone to give me an opportunity, and you will never know until you do that.

I'm all for giving people opportunities to do it.

Q] The young lads you've brought in have miles on the clock with first team football?

A] I think that is the important thing. If you play a couple of hundred Championship or League One games, then you know they have played men's football.

It is not as if the lads have come from academy football and are playing against lads of their own age.

They have played against hardened seasoned pros. That's the difference of playing at Championship level.

It is a school of hard knocks which I think is important. They've had to learn their trade and they've played at a really young age which indicates they can handle it.

They just need that opportunity to prove they can do it at a higher level.

Q] You picked Brad Guzan and not Shay Given against Newcastle. Is that for the long-term?

A] He is in there at the minute. I'm pretty sure Shay will push him every step of the way. It is a decision I thought was right for the football club at that time and Brad was exceptional at Newcastle.

Q] Brad will play against Swansea?

A] He doesn't know yet, I don't know!

Q] What do you have make of the pre-match handshake?

A] I think it is more trouble than it's worth to be honest. Shake hands after the game, but not before it. You are out to try and win a football match and I'm pretty sure you don't want to shake hands with someone you are going to go and compete against.

Afterwards it's fine, that's a sign of respect and sportsmanship, fair play and all those sort of things. But before it, no, I wouldn't run with it.

Q] Your reaction to the Hillsborough findings?

A] After the tragedy that happened, the stadia have got a lot better and when you go to a sporting event, you don't expect your friends and relatives not to come back.

For 23 years, there has been so much hurt there which has been incredible.

Q] Are all four new lads in the squad tomorrow?

A] They are all reporting tomorrow so I'll decide then what team I run with. They have certainly given the place a lift, that's for sure.

Q] Is part of your thinking that you can't throw too many young kids in at once against Swansea?

A] Not really, because I think if you are good enough, it doesn't matter to me what age you are.

All they need is an opportunity. It's just getting that blend we think is going to be right and if they perform together (youth and experience) then I don't have a problem.

Q] Any injuries?

A] Everyone seems not too bad and we will have a strong squad for tomorrow.

Click here to watch the FULL television briefing with Lambert on AVTV.

AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 14th September 2012
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