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Gaffer's verdict: Lambert - We'll be ready for Stoke opener

FC Groningen 4-1 Villa: Chery impact decisive in Dutch defeat Lambert: Returning Vlaar in positive mood ahead of new season
Gaffer's verdict: Lambert - We'll be ready for Stoke opener


Paul Lambert is focused on the fitness of his players ahead of the new Barclays Premier League season rather than match results after watching his team go down 4-1 at FC Groningen.

Charles N'Zogbia's wonderful second half free-kick was merely a consolation as goals from Tjaronn Chery [2], Jarchinio Antonia and Dino Islamovic won it for the hosts.

Lambert insists he's not overly concerned about the loss - because he's got his eyes firmly fixed on Saturday August 16 when the team's Barclays Premier League season begins for real at Stoke City.

He said: "The result wasn't the most important thing. It's about getting fitness levels.

"The result is irrelevant. We are still some weeks away from our first game. These matches don't matter results-wise. I have said that from the beginning.

"The fitness levels are the most important thing.

"I have been involved where we have won every single pre-season game and before you know it, you lose your first game. I never read too much into pre-season games.

"Groningen are a few weeks ahead of us. They are a good side. They are in the Europa League.

"We're not too far away. We're not a million miles away from where we want to be. The Stoke game is where you have to hit your maximum. We will be ready for the Stoke game."

Lambert also revealed that Joe Bennett and Matt Lowton played for the U21s at Swindon because he wanted them to get more game-time under their belts.

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AVFC Official
By @AVFCOfficial 2nd August 2014
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