Wolves boss Paul Lambert delighted by all-round performance in derby win over Aston Villa

Wolves boss Paul Lambert delighted by all-round performance in derby win over Aston Villa

Wolverhampton Wanderers boss Paul Lambert was enthused by the performance on offer from his side as they beat his former club, and their west midlands rivals, Aston Villa 1-0 at Molineux on Saturday.

Charlie Malam

Paul Lambert hailed the all-rounded performance of his Wolves side as they beat his former club Aston Villa 1-0 at Molineux on Saturday, but denied that the win was sweeter due to his history with Villa.

Joe Mason's first-half effort was the only thing separating the sides, although the score-line did not reflect how well Wolves played.

Wolves limited to Villa to one chance throughout the 90 minutes, which Ross McCormack failed to take advantage of, while fashioning a number of opportunities themselves at the opposite end in an entertaining display.

The win was their first against their west midlands rivals at home in 39 years and moved them eight points clear of the Sky Bet Championship relegation places.  

Afterwards, the Scot enthused about what he believed was an excellent performance at both ends of the pitch.

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Lambert delighted with "excellent" attacking performance

On how goalkeeper Carl Ikeme wasn't forced into a single save all evening, Lambert said: "He wasn't, and that's testament to everyone in front of him.

"To be fair, Ikeme's been playing out of his skin as well. I don't think we were under major pressure. We never got hurt.

"On the other side of the coin, going forward I thought we were incredibly good.

"I don't think we were under pressure. There was one or two incidents, which can happen, but we defended strongly.

"We were excellent going forward."

Lambert hails Wolves' feel-good factor after huge derby win

This was Lambert's first meeting with Villa since he ended a three-year spell at Villa Park in February 2015, but he dismissed the idea that the result took on greater significance because of that.

The 47-year-old continued: "It's just three points. Aston Villa is a club I've got a lot of respect for and good feeling for.

"But my team were brilliant and they have been brilliant for the last few weeks. We weren't getting results but you can feel it.

"You can sense it every time you come here that we're vibrant, energetic, pressing's great, everything about our game at the minute I think is really strong. 

"My concern is Wolves. I've got the greatest respect for Aston Villa's history. They've got some great players.

"The group of lads I had gave me everything but it wasn't to be. This club is moving in the right direction.

"I think there's a brilliant infrastructure here at Wolves. It's a brilliant club, it really is. It's got a really good fan base behind it.

"The most important thing is the supporters and the players are right with each other.

"In any successful club I've been at, whether it's Borussia Dortmund or Celtic, fans and players have a massive rapport."

Lambert acknowledged former employers Villa as "a fantastic club" but also hailed Wolves as an "unbelievable" club with "great history" and "great players."

He said: "This club has got a vibrant fan base that wants success. You can hear that.

"You could feel it in the stadium, that there's so much that the crowd want. We're on the right path.

"We've just come in and galvanised it a little bit, but the players deserve the credit for what's gone on.

"They're the ones that play the game and the way they're playing, with the energy and what I'm asking them to do and carry out, whether we come up with a late run? Nobody knows.

"But the pleasing thing for me more than anything is that we're playing exciting football."

Some of my line-up decisions the hardest I've ever had to make, admits Lambert

Lambert made seven changes to his starting line-up and admitted, off the back of their shock 2-0 FA Cup third round win over Stoke City last weekend, that his team selection was the most difficult of his 11-year managerial career so far.

"I left [Mike] Williamson and [Lee] Evans out, which is probably the two hardest decisions I've had to make since I became a manager because the team were brilliant against Stoke," the Wolves boss said.

"But I made the choice that we'd bring back Richard [Stearman] and Danny [Batth].

"We've some big games coming up, Norwich next week which is another terrific game for us and whatever happens in the cup.

"We've big games coming up so everyone will play. 

"It was terrible, it really was [the team decision]. I never picked that team, probably until this morning.

"Normally I do a bit of shape work - which I did do on Thursday - but I couldn't nail a team down because of what had happened last week."

And despite their form, having won as many league games in their last five as they had in their previous 18 games with three victories, Lambert believes Wolves can still improve further.

He added: "The squad isn't where I want it to be. We're a long way short of what we want to get to.

"But what I've got is a group of lads that are incredibly hungry to go and try and succeed.

"I've got young kids coming through and if Dave Edwards never came off then Morgan [Gibbs-White] is coming on, at 16 years old.

"There's good kids here as well. Everything at the minute is going really well."