Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has urged his players to put this season’s struggles behind them and focus their energies on a victory over Manchester City.
The claret and blues have endured a difficult campaign and won just five of their 27 Premier League matches, which has left them languishing in the relegation zone.
But Lambert has told his squad to look to the future and build on their recent impressive displays and clinch a shock win against the defending champions tonight.
“There’s no point looking back, but if we had seen some of our games through we wouldn’t be in this position. The reality is that we are where we are. We have to go and do it,” said Lambert.
“If we can win this one it will be huge. It just gives you so much confidence to go into the next one.
“I think there always seems to be one or two twists. Other teams can get caught up. There’s always things that will happen.
“I’ve felt signs of encouragement for a few weeks without getting the results and that’s the frustrating thing, when you play well and don’t get results. Against Arsenal we should have got at least a point.
“You go into every game thinking you want three points. You never think this one here, that one there, I might miss out on that one.
“Every game you try to win. I never set my stall out for a target because if you don’t hit it then there is even more disappointment.”
Lambert admitted that while City trail bitter rivals Manchester United in the league table, they still possess plenty of players that can hurt Villa.
“United are in pole position. I think their lead is big at the minute and they are playing really well. That’s not to take anything away from Man City who are a top side. The lead is just pretty big at the minute,” said Lambert.
“You look at Manchester United who lost it last year and came back strongly. United have done it year after year. That’s why they have top players.
“City are still a top side though, they’ve just turned Chelsea over. They have some great players and are a top side.
"It’s just this season that Manchester United have got that lead and it’s going to be tough to turn that lead over.”
Villa were thrashed 5-0 at the Etihad Stadium back in November and Lambert has not forgiven referee Jonathan Moss after he handed City the game on a plate with a debatable penalty.
“I thought it was a farce that game, with the penalty incident. It was never a penalty and there for everyone to see. We were in the game at 1-0 and had an early chance in that,” added Lambert.
“We’ve beaten them up there in the League Cup. But I thought that penalty incident was a farce and that put us on the back foot.
"Then they get another penalty not long after so things never went our way. Players remember things like that.
“That’s why to go up there and beat them in the League Cup as we did is a hell of a result because of the players they have got. We know how hard it is going to be.”