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Lambert believes Villa will survive ropey patch

Paul Lambert vowed Aston Villa will rise again as he prepares to mark his 100th game in charge.

The Scot will reach his milestone against in-form Southampton tonight with Villa in desperate need of a win.

He has won just 30 of his 99 games so far, losing 48 and drawing 21 since joining from Norwich in 2012.

Villa have battled relegation for the past four seasons, two under Lambert, but the manager insisted they can revive themselves.

"You have to earn the right to get up there. Teams and clubs will always go through difficult spells," he said.

"Teams have little ropey times they will come through."

Villa are winless in seven games in the Premier League ahead of the Saints' visit and Lambert knows Villa must improve after years of struggle.

"We have to do a lot better, this club is too big a club and too good a club to keep doing what it has been doing," he said.

"It has to get up there, it is too big this football club.

Lambert is without defenders Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos (both calf) and Nathan Baker (knee) while Christian Benteke is suspended and Fabian Delph (shoulder) is out until the New Year.

Meanwhile, Southampton boss Ronald Koeman has criticised England's "crazy" Christmas schedule, claiming the traditional fixture pile-up only favours the biggest clubs.

The Saints face a testing month that brings games against Manchester City, Arsenal, Manchester United, Everton and Chelsea.

"We have to play December 26 and then again on the 28th, January 1 and then January 3 for the FA Cup - it's crazy.

"Does it favour the big clubs? Yes. They can change players much easier than other teams in the Premier League," Koeman said.

"It is worst for the clubs who haven't got 24 players at the same level.

"You have to change your team and I don't like to change my team. I believe if the team is doing well you can change one or two positions but I don't believe in changing my team in six or seven positions."

If Southampton want to keep pace with the sides at the top of the table, they may need to bolster their options in the January transfer window.

"Our transfer policy in January doesn't depend on winning and losing over the next month," Koeman said.

"It depends on the players we have - for example we know that Sadio Mane has to play at the African Nations Cup, Maya Yoshida will play in the Asian Cup but we don't need a lot of players.

"I am happy with the players we have. It depends on injuries if you need someone but it's too early to make conclusions about that."




(KO 8.0)