- Premier League
Lambert: Old Trafford atmosphere will help us
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert believes the celebratory atmosphere at Old Trafford on Monday will help inspire his relegation-threatened side in their bid to spoil Manchester United's party.
The idea of facing United on the night they can secure the Premier League title would strike fear into the hearts of most opposition managers, but Lambert feels Manchester City's defeat against Spurs on Sunday could actually help his players.
Spurs' 3-1 victory at White Hart Lane leaves the Red Devils needing just a win to reclaim the trophy they lost to their neighbours last May, while Villa remain desperate for points in their own battle to remain out of the bottom three.
And Lambert hopes the special atmosphere on Monday will work in his team's favour as they attempt to keep Sir Alex Ferguson waiting a few more days before United can celebrate another title triumph.
"In a roundabout way the atmosphere at Old Trafford can help us too," Lambert said. "I don't want them to win it against us, because I want us to try and win ourselves. That's what we'll go and try and do.
"The days of players being overawed at big clubs has gone. If you don't enjoy going there and playing in that environment, then there is something seriously wrong with you. That is a fabulous place to play football, but you're up against one of the best teams in Europe, let alone anywhere else. But you've got to go there and enjoy it and handle it.
"We've been to the Emirates and played really well, and at Anfield we played really well. I don't think they'll be nervy about it, I think they'll go to enjoy it. We'll go and try and win. I've never deviated from that.
"Any games that we've played in we've gone to try and win, but you also know that you've got to respect the opposition you're playing against. Manchester United are the best team in the country at the minute."
Results at the bottom end of the table went Villa's way on Saturday with rivals Reading, Queens Park Rangers and Wigan all losing.
And Lambert remains confident his side are playing as well as any of the teams looking over their shoulder at the prospect of relegation.
"We're playing well. I think I said a number of weeks ago there will be other teams getting dragged into this and it's happened," Lambert added. "We're playing well enough, we're on a good bit of form at the moment and going into a game on Monday where it's going to be tough and no-one expects anything from us but we're going to go there to try to win it.
"We are in the situation we are in because we should have picked up more points than what we've got. We've lost two-goal leads, but that would be a learning curve for us to see it through. If you look at that we'd be up mid-table. But we're not, we are where we are but you keep going and striving on.
"We don't want to go down, that's for sure. We have to fight for everything to stay in the league. That's the main thing. I'm always positive over it and our job is to keep this club in the league and keep building it.
"We don't look like a team which is really under threat. We play with a bit of freedom which we allow the lads to go and do. They are ready for it. The way they are playing they are more than capable of winning games. Staying in the league is the be all and end all."