• Premier League

Managing Aston Villa was toughest job of my life - Lambert

ESPN staff
February 12, 2015
ESPN FC Extra Time: Lambert out, what's next?

Paul Lambert has defended his time in charge at Aston Villa by pointing out that he was asked to lower the club's wage structure and bring in young players upon his appointment.

Lambert was sacked by Villa on Wednesday after a 2-0 defeat at Hull just 24 hours earlier had left the side in the Premier League's relegation zone.

Lambert, who arrived at Villa Park in 2012, came under fire from some supporters during his tenure due to his recruitment policy focusing on the purchase of younger players from the lower leagues, such as Matthew Lowton and Ashley Westwood.

However, he insists he was only following instructions laid out by the club, while stressing that he had met their requirements in keeping the team in the Premier League.

"I am extremely proud to have managed Aston Villa, a founder member of the Football League, and this sentiment will always remain with me," Lambert said in a statement released by the League Managers Association.

"My initial remit was to conduct a massive overhaul of the playing squad, lower the overall wage structure of the playing staff and achieve this whilst keeping the club in the Premier League. There was also a concerted effort to purchase and develop younger players who would provide a solid footing for the football club to move forward and enhance the value of the playing squad in the future.

"When I came on board the club's owner, Randy Lerner, warned me that I was embarking on the toughest challenge of my working life and he was not wrong. But I have never stepped away from hard work and I put my heart and soul into the job from my first day until my last."

Lambert leaves Villa in 18th place in the Premier League and on a run of 10 straight league games without a victory.

Before scoring in their 2-1 defeat to Chelsea on February 7, meanwhile, Villa had gone over 11 hours without a Premier League goal under Lambert - a club record.

"I completely understand their [the supporters] frustrations and always shared their view that the football club is too big not to be competing at the top end of the table. I hope that can happen," Lambert said.

"You never stop learning in football management and I certainly believe the invaluable experience from my time as Villa manager will prove hugely beneficial in the next stage of my managerial career."

Lambert went on to praise the Villa supporters, as well as the players, and hopes the club can rise up the table in the future.

"I pay tribute to the supporters who are among the most passionate I have ever encountered. They rightly hold huge expectations for their beloved football club and I sincerely hope they are rewarded with the success they deserve," he said.

"To the players, my sincere thanks to each and every one of them. They are a fantastic group of players and I wish them every success for the rest of their playing careers. I hope to see many of them achieve great things in the game."

Lambert added: "I'd like to thank Randy Lerner for not only providing me with the opportunity to manage one of the most illustrious clubs in world football but also for the support and friendship he offered me throughout my time at the club."

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