Lambert aims to derail City
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insists his side head to title favourites Manchester City with the intention of playing to win despite there being little riding on the outcome for them.
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All the focus has switched to the Etihad Stadium, where City have dropped just five points all season, as Liverpool's slip up at Crystal Palace puts Manuel Pellegrini's side in the box seats.
Few expect either Villa, or Sunday's visitors to Manchester West Ham, to be able to prevent City winning their second title in three years.
With Villa's safety secured by last weekend's win over Hull the general feeling is they will not be in much of a mood to put up a fight but Lambert said that assumption would be wrong.
"We're not going there just to make up the numbers, we're going there to try to win," he said.
"You have to run a lot and run without the ball. We're going to have to work really hard without the ball but you also know you've got to try to win the game and that's what we're going to try and do.
"We'll go there now in a lot better place than we were before the Hull game."
City require a maximum of four points from their remaining two home matches such is their superior goal difference over current leaders Liverpool, whom they trail by just a point with a game in hand.
Such a haul would seem almost like a foregone conclusion against two teams safe from relegation in the comfort of mid-table.
Even Lambert thinks City, despite the onus being on them to perform in front of their own fans, will not be affected by the situation they find themselves in - especially after going through the nerve-shredding experience of winning the title on goal difference with virtually the last kick of the game in the 2011-12 season.
"Everybody knows pressure can affect different people in different ways but you look at their squad and their players are world class," said the Scot.
Villa left it uncomfortably late to secure their own future with safety coming in the penultimate game just when it appeared they could get sucked into a last-day relegation battle.
Their players have been under a different pressure to City's for some weeks now but Lambert has been pleased with the spirit they have shown to get themselves out of trouble with a match to spare.
"It was major pressure. It was excruciating at times. They showed character, grit and determination to see a game through when it really mattered," said the Villa boss.
"You have to give them credit too. They are the ones in the dressing room who have to go out and perform."