Villa boss Paul Lambert today hit back at the ex-players who have taken a swipe at the club’s transfer deadline day signings.
The claret and blues brought in defensive midfielder Yacouba Sylla from French second division club Clermont for £1.75m and loaned winger Simon Dawkins from Tottenham until the end of the season.
Neither player has made an appearance in the Premier League and with Villa struggling near the foot of the table, a number of pundits questioned whether more experienced recruits were required.
“It doesn’t bother me what the ex-players think. They should know better. If they have a problem they should come and see me,” said the Scot.
“If you ask me if I’d like to sign a Lionel Messi or a Xavi then, yes I would have done. But you can only work with what you’ve got.
“We couldn’t afford anyone massive. Randy (Lerner) has been great and I knew the remit. We couldn’t get many loans short-term because of the salaries. We tried to do a few but the salaries were way too high.
“It’s easy to sit as an ex-player and say ‘I think I can do that’. There is more to it than that.
“I would never criticise a manager because I know how hard it is and what they go through.”
Lambert conceded that Villa are now unable to compete with the likes of Stoke and Newcastle in the transfer market, and urged fans to give Sylla and Dawkins a chance.
“I think there’s got to be realism at the minute. I think that’s why the fans are with us, because they can see what’s going on. I understand their frustrations,” added Lambert.
“We’ve got to give the new lads a chance.”