Fan Focus: The Villain's Viewpoint

Michael Regan

We caught up with Damian Dugdale from The Villa Blog to talk all things Benteke, Lambert and relegation ahead of tomorrow's hugely important game at The Stadium of Light

Not the greatest of periods for Villa of late with Saturday's draw against Swansea stopping a rot of four consecutive defeats, where have things been going wrong for your side?

The Villa Blog: They went wrong with the addition of so many new players in the summer. We finished last season really well because it took most of last season for another large group of players to start playing well. The manager basically started his second season as he started his first but with one crucial mistake; he didn't get the two players we needed, he got a group of players we already had.

There also seemed to be reports that some sections of the crowd have lost patience with Paul Lambert - what is the fans consensus on the gaffer?

TVB: You know yourself that that it's the manager that has to carry the flak when things don't go right. Most Aston Villa supporters could have told you in the summer we didn't need so many new players and we needed the two to strengthen the starting eleven that he didn't go and buy. So right now, he has to deal with that. The hope is and I believe it will happen, it will click again like it did last time, but this is the last chance this manager has. Not because you only get two chances, but because the game has changed and supporters are more impatient these days.

Just what has happened to Christian Benteke this season?

TVB: He handed in a transfer request in the summer but then after a but of time, took it back. The feeling is the club said he wasn't going anywhere and that he signed a contract so he was staying. They offered him more money as a gesture, but the feeling is it was accepted purely on financial grounds and that he's had his head turned and he wants out.

From the few games involving Villa I've seen this year it looks to me as though you are desperate for a playmaker in the middle of the park, where would you strengthen if funds are made available in the New Year?

TVB: You're right and that is one of the two players we needed in the summer. It was glaringly obvious but we didn't do it but we need to do it in January. My view is we needed two of them but now we've had a couple of injuries to some key players so I'd say a central midfield playmaker and a central defender with an old head. Both to lead the
troops and provide some much needed experience and confidence.

Looking ahead to New Years' Day, how would you expect Lambert to set his side up?

TVB: He'll set it up much as he has all season; 433 and we'll sit back and counter your attacking football. It's not pretty to watch and it didn't work last season and for the life of me I don't know why he is trying it again this season. But he learnt last season and the hope is he will learn again this season.

Are there any Sunderland players that give you reason for concern?

TVB: I don't really know. You made a lot of changes in the summer and from what I've seen, nobody has stood out. Sorry.

Prediction?

TVB: I think we'll leave with a point but I don't see many goals. Maybe 0-0 or 1-1.

Can Sunderland beat the drop?

TVB: Yes. There are three worse sides than you. Fortunately there are three worse sides than us too.

Any worries Villa may be dragged into the scrap?

TVB: Answer above. We'll flirt with it like a cheap brass but we'll not get close enough to be in serious trouble.

Many thanks to Doug for joining us to talk Sunderland vs Aston Villa. Be sure to check out The Villa Blog after the game for their perspective on it all and to give them a follow on Twitter

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