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Lambert lauds Villa stand-ins

Paul Lambert has tipped Jores Okore and Ciaran Clark to push for regular first-team football, even when Aston Villa solve their defensive injury crisis.

Okore and Clark forged a resilient central defensive pairing in Villa's 1-0 Premier League victory at Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.

The makeshift duo battled manfully amid the continued absence of long-term injury trio Ron Vlaar, Philippe Senderos and Nathan Baker.

Our defensive effort was terrific at Selhurst Park.

Okore and Clark worked very well together, Alan Hutton was outstanding too, and with (Brad) Guzan and (Aly) Cissokho formed a strong unit there.

For Okore it's his third game in quick succession, and he's been out for more than a year.

And I think Ciaran Clark certainly: the two of them have certainly stepped up their game.

That's the aim of football, to have selection conundrums, and those two are going to give me that when others return.

You've got to push a mate to get into a side, and at the minute these two lads are holding their own.

– Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert.

Lambert: No bust-up with Keane

Keane
Keane left his Villa post to concentrate on Ireland. Credit: PA

Paul Lambert has claimed there was "absolutely no bust-up" when Roy Keane quit as Aston Villa's assistant manager.

Boss Lambert scotched reports Keane was embroiled in training-ground rows with Villa players before walking out on the club last week.

Christian Benteke's first goal in nine months handed Villa their first win in 10 games in an edgy 1-0 victory at Crystal Palace on Tuesday night.

If anyone wants to know about Roy, I'll put it on your plate so you know: there's absolutely no problem whatsoever.

He's got a lot of commitments with Ireland, he's never had a break from going away with Ireland, and never had a break from Aston Villa. So I totally respect his decision.

Contrary to reports, there was absolutely nothing, absolutely no bust-up, no arguing, nothing like that.

I thank him for his time coming to work for me.

I spoke to him before the Burnley game, after the Burnley game, and we still have the same relationship. So I just want to put that to bed, alright?

– Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert.

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Teams: Burnley v Aston Villa

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Confirmed #BFC starting XI: Heaton, Trippier, Shackell (c), Keane, Ward; Kightly, Marney, Jones, Boyd; Barnes, Ings. #ClaretsLIVE

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#AVFC team (v #BFC): Guzan, Hutton, Okore, Clark, Cissokho, Westwood, Sanchez, Cleverley, Cole, Weimann, Agbonlahor (c).

Aston Villa tried to sign Southampton star Tadic

Tadic
Tadic has sparkled since joining Southampton. Credit: PA

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has revealed he tried to sign Southampton midfielder Dusan Tadic in January 2013, but could not complete a deal with FC Twente.

Tadic joined the Saints for a reported £10.9million in the summer and has been key in their rise to second in the Barclays Premier League.

The Serbia international will face Villa on Monday, but could well have been lining up in Villa colours.

We tried to get Tadic here, the January before last. We tried to do something, but couldn't do it.

That's the way it goes, because he's a good player. So we've known about his talents for a while now, but we couldn't quite get it done.

There were loads of factors which just meant we couldn't get it done. It was January 2013, he was at FC Twente and they were looking for a right few quid.

– Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert
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