Bradford City: Fan power can swing it for us, says Aston Villa boss Lambert (From Bradford Telegraph and Argus)
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Bradford City: Fan power can swing it for us, says Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert
Paul Lambert is banking on a crammed Villa Park to suffocate City’s Wembley dream – and wipe out the memories of Villa’s darkest night of the season.
Lambert admits the 3-1 first-leg loss at Valley Parade felt even worse than the 8-0 battering his side suffered at Chelsea’s hands over Christmas.
But he is confident that Villa can restore pride by using home advantage to turn the tie back in their favour.
He said: “Bradford have played in front of a full house against ourselves and Arsenal. The major difference is the crowd will be right with us.
“There’s the size of the pitch as well and hopefully the tempo we’re going to start and play with will be a big part of it.
“The fans will be great. They’ll be right behind us right from the off and they’ll keep on driving us on. They’ll play a huge part.”
Lambert, who will have striker Andreas Weimann back after a virus, experienced the other side of the coin when he took underdogs Wycombe to Stamford Bridge in 2007. And he knows the pressure that City will be under.
“They’ll know themselves that two goals is easily retrievable, easily. The whole thing changes now. They’ve got the lead but I’ve got a feeling with the way the stadium will be that it will be a different game.
“We’re playing at our home ground and we have to use that advantage. The players know they can turn it round.”
Valley Parade pitch announcer Paul Deo was accused in some Villa quarters of gloating after the first game by talking about hotel rooms in London.
Lambert added: “If he said that then maybe it’s a bit disrespectful.
“Football’s got a great habit of kicking you somewhere. We’ll see what happens after the game.”
Deo apologised last night and said: “It was never meant to sound like some sort of jibe, and there was no intention to be in any way smug or over confident.
“I certainly did not say ‘book your hotels’. What I said was that, though it was only half-time in the semi-final and it was far from over, Bradford fans could be forgiven for having a look at hotel rooms in London.
“As a club we have not been in this situation before. We were excited and what I said I said totally in that ‘moment of celebration’ context.”