Lambert enigma even murkier after post-match quotes

Michael Regan

Paul Lambert is talking like a manager who has a job, but there's no reason to believe he does.

In his post-match comments, Paul Lambert sounded a lot like a manager who plans on being around next year. After stating that keeping Aston Villa up this year was "one of the greatest things I've done in my time," Lambert went on to say what many of us were already thinking:

"I think the football club needs investment. It's punching you right in the face. Any club that wins a European Cup and has won leagues before and got a massive fanbase should never be in this position. But it is."

It's a demand. A demand that, without saying it, says "Give us money or I can't do my job." It's a bit like what Martin O'Neill said in his last summer as Villa manager, in fact, though there are two major differences. The first is that O'Neill was asking for more money after having been given plenty to work with. Lambert is asking for it after having to deal with a tight budget for two years. So Lambert's demand seems justified where O'Neill's did not.

But the second difference almost flips that around. O'Neill's demand came from someone with the power to make such a demand. "I've helped this club, you want me here, and I want more money to play with." Alright, you may not get it, but you're in a safe position to ask it. Lambert, on the other hand, could very well find himself unemployed after Sunday's match at Tottenham. And yet he talks like a man with job security.

Maybe Lambert is being brash because he has nothing to lose. It's not a terrible strategy, really. This type of talk is the sort of thing that deflects the pressure off of him and onto the owner. "I did all I could with what I was given, but I can't do much more." If people buy into that, it may ease the fan pressure on Lambert some. It's also a nice way to suck-up to any new potential owners. "Hey, I know I've looked terrible this year, but if you give me some new money I can work wonders."

I'm still not sure I want Lambert around for another year. I think you could convince me that either option would work. But in a completely abstract view of this, I really admire his verbal strategizing. At the very least, he's a cagey one. And he won't go down without a fight.

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