Dejected Lambert relieved there is chance to retrieve dire situation

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert
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Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert was left to rue his side’s poor defending as Bradford City humbled the Premier League side at Valley Parade.

Villa’s defence were static for all three City goals as Nakhi Wells, Rory McArdle and Carl McHugh sent Bradford fans into raptures.

The top-flight strugglers may still be favourites to advance in some quarters, but only if they can improve their defending.

Their workrate and desire also has to be better after it was desperately found wanting when measured against the hunger and organisation displayed by a Bantams side from three divisions below.

Villa manager Lambert, whose side have won only one of their last seven Premier League matches, said: “At any level of football, you can’t defend set-plays like that and expect to win games.

“But we’re still in the tie, absolutely.

“It will be a different game at Villa Park.

“We had lots of chances to score and we never took them, but it’s only half-time.

“But you’ve got to give Bradford credit, they defended resolutely and their goalkeeper made some good saves.

“We are really disappointed we have lost the game.

“But we have another chance to retrieve this. We will have to see what happens in a fortnight’s time.

“We will be at home and we know what we have to do.

“We have to play a lot better than that.”

Lambert and his Villa side had no answer to the verve of Bradford, but they feel being the home side in the return leg on January 22 will swing the balance back in their favour.

“It was certainly Bradford’s night and it will be a different game at Villa Park,” said Villa’s underfire manager.

“I’m pretty sure we will be [favourites], being at home with the crowd behind us, but it is a big game for us now.

“If chances come our way we will have to be clinical and take them.”