Lambert focused on the action

  • Last Updated: April 18 2014, 16:35 BST

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert must attempt to shut out off-field intrigue long enough to secure the one win he believes will secure Barclays Premier League safety.

Paul Lambert: Thinks one win will be enough
Paul Lambert: Thinks one win will be enough

Villa go into the weekend fixtures four points above the drop zone with five games to play, but their scrap for safety was shunted down the news agenda when it was announced this week that assistant manager Ian Culverhouse and head of football operations Gary Karsa had been suspended by the club.

As long-term associates of Lambert, who came to Villa Park as the Scot's trusted right-hand men, the decision has created considerable interest and no little speculation.

But an ongoing internal investigation means Lambert cannot speak publicly on the matter.

Instead, he has attempted to focus the minds of players and public alike on the real business at hand - securing a potentially decisive win.

Southampton visit Villa Park on Saturday, with Lambert looking to end a losing sequence stretching to four games.

"Forget about the rest of it, my main focus is to prepare for the game, to go and get the lads ready as best as we can," he said.

"We'll try and get the supporters behind us, get everyone positive and try to win a game. That's my job to try and do.

"(One more win) and we'll be in touching distance (of safety). We always say to the lads to be positive no matter what, we don't talk about being negative.

"But the lads know the situation, they don't need me to tell them. They know it themselves and we'll be ready for this one."

Lambert admits his side seemed to have lifted themselves out of the relegation battle with a 1-0 win over Chelsea last month, but no points from the last 12 has dragged them back in.

"After the Chelsea game everybody thought 'great, no problem', nobody foresaw the last four games," he said.

"After Chelsea we were sitting with feet up and all of a sudden, four games later, you've got a bit more to do to get over the line.

"It (complacency) never came from ourselves, as a group or as a team. Outside people, pundits and all that, thought Aston Villa were totally safe but I've never given that implication.

"We know that now is the time to win a game."

Lambert will be assisted this weekend for the first time by Gordon Cowans and Shay Given, who were asked to step in following the suspension of Culverhouse and Karsa.

For Given it is a curious end to a curious season which has seen him spend time on loan at Middlesbrough having fallen behind not just Brad Guzan but also Jed Steer in the pecking order.

"I've always got on well with Shay, always," said Lambert.

"One thing I don't think anyone could label Shay is not being professional. He's a fantastic pro, no two ways about it.

"This will be new for him, seeing the game from the other side, but he's good with the players around him.

"It wasn't a hard decision and he accepted within seconds."