Lambert banking on Bayern boost


Published: Saturday 6th December 2014 by The News Editor

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Aston Villa fans will hope to see the benefits of a meeting of minds between manager Paul Lambert and Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola this week.

Lambert flew to Germany to spend time watching the German giants train and sit down with former Barcelona coach Guardiola.

The Villa boss has extensive contacts in the Bundesliga from his playing career with Borussia Dortmund and took full advantage with an “eye-opening” trip to Bavaria.

“I was watching them train and had some meetings with people,” he said. “It was a good experience for me.

“I know people there. It was absolutely brilliant, first class.

“We (Lambert and Guardiola) had a really good chat. I also know Matthias Sammer (the Bayern sporting director and former Dortmund team-mate of Lambert) as well.

“I met a few people there and it’s an absolutely first-class football club.

“It was brilliant. A real eye-opener.”

The Scot was reluctant to disclose exactly what he had learned.

“I think what I saw there should probably stay in my own head,” he said. “If you want to see it, maybe go and try and have a look.”

Lambert goes up against Leicester counterpart Nigel Pearson in the Barclays Premier League on Sunday and was reluctant to comment on the Foxes manager’s midweek spat with a supporter.

“I’ve been away for a couple of days so I don’t know anything about all that,” he said.

“I can’t get involved in it. Managers being criticised has come into the game more and more. I don’t think it’s nice and it doesn’t help the team.

“Nigel’s a good guy, I’ve met him a few times. I don’t know anything about it as I’ve been away, so I’ll probably leave it at that.

“It’s not nice when it happens to you. It’s come more into the game, with the banners etc too. It can hurt the team and the team is the most important thing.

“I don’t like it. I don’t like seeing things like that. I know how hard the job is and it’s not nice. It’s a ‘free hit’, to have a go at the manager with a banner or chants.

“On the whole the fans have been fantastic with me here.”

England midfielder Fabian Delph returned to training on Friday as he fights to return for some of Aston Villa’s Christmas fixtures.

The 25-year-old dislocated his shoulder in October and was ruled out until the end of December.

The Villa boss, also without key defenders Ron Vlaar and Philippe Senderos at the moment, said: “Fabian’s coming on, he trained with the team today.

“It’s non-contact at the minute but he’s doing really well.”

Midfielder Joe Cole has been ruled out for around two weeks with a hamstring injury suffered in Tuesday’s win over Crystal Palace but Lambert hopes he can return sooner.

Nigel Pearson insisted his angry row with a fan should galvanise his Leicester strugglers as he expects to escape a club rap.

The Foxes manager admitted he was unaware of any internal club probe into the heated exchange he had with a supporter during Tuesday’s 3-1 defeat to Liverpool.

Fans had called on Pearson to apologise, something he refused to do on Friday, after a video emerged of him reacting to a fan in the crowd but he remained unrepentant.

The club had said they were looking into the matter but Pearson is carrying on as normal ahead of the trip to Aston Villa on Sunday.

“I’m not aware there is an investigation,” he said.

“I’ve been asked a few questions but my job is to continue to manage my team, a team I played big part in developing and had considerable success with in adversity.

“We’ve come through difficult times before – just not as public. Technology can be a bit of a nuisance at times.”

The Foxes are bottom of the Barclays Premier League and without a win in their last nine games but Pearson hopes the controversy will unite them.

“We try to come through adversity,” he said. “I’ve had run-ins with fans in the past and that’s how it is. I think the players have very strong feelings about what’s going on and feel the need to prove themselves to themselves and to other people.

“It shows solidarity and a belief in what and how we’re doing.

“Ultimately I’m not daft, it’s a results business and we have to change the trend sooner rather than later. You can’t expect things to go swimmingly all the time.

“I’ve been involved in tricky times in the past. I saw some clips of a banner at Arsenal and find it totally bemusing someone of Arsene Wenger’s stature and record is questioned. He can be a very emotional man himself.

“I can move on from events this week.”

Published: Saturday 6th December 2014 by The News Editor

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