Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insists he is focused on trying to plot an upset against Manchester City tonight rather than forthcoming games with fellow strugglers Reading and QPR.
Lambert knows the significance of the Barclays Premier League double-header which will follow on from the meeting with Roberto Mancini’s side, but he has taken enough encouragement from Villa’s performances in recent weeks – including last weekend’s 2-1 defeat at Arsenal – to believe they can at least compete against the champions.
He said: “I felt there were signs of encouragement against Arsenal but then I’ve felt that for a few weeks without getting the results. That’s the frustrating thing, when you play well and don’t get results especially in the games at Everton, West Brom and Swansea.
“When you have a two-goal lead at Everton and West Brom and you don’t see it through, or concede a late equaliser as was the case at Swansea, it’s frustrating. If we had taken maximum points from those games, then we’d be sitting mid-table and, against Arsenal, we should have had at least a point.”
Lambert added: “People are asking about the Reading and QPR games and I say to them, ‘so there’s no point in playing Manchester City then?’
“I don’t view it that way. We may as well just give it to them if we think like that. We want to beat Manchester City. You are there to win, regardless of whether it is City or QPR or whoever. We have to try and win. We are a threat going forward. We are not going into it just to draw or anything like that.”
Manchester City manager Mancini may have bemoaned a lack of goals from his strikers this season but he would happily settle for 1-0 victories.
The Italian said: “I hope that we can win the next 11 games 1-0 if it is possible because 1-0 is enough if you don’t concede a goal. But it is impossible that you don’t concede a goal every game.”