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Ciaran Clark defended after Aston Villa mistake

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Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert refused to pin the blame on Ciaran Clark after the defender's mistake ultimately proved costly against Manchester City.


Clark attempted a 'Cruyff turn' in an attempt to get himself out of trouble and was caught in possession by Edin Dzeko who played the ball into fellow striker Carlos Tevez to score the only goal of the game.

But rather than lament the stand-in skipper's error Lambert preferred to dwell on the positive reaction he got from Clark in the second half.

"There was only minute to go. It is easy to be critical of Ciaran. The lad has been excellent all season. He will learn from it, he won't make the same mistake again," said the Villa boss.

"It wasn't a foul on Ciaran. No. I just think he has tried something he maybe shouldn't have, feeling confident, but he has excellent for me throughout the games. He tried to be a bit clever and things like that can happen.

"At half-time I just had chat with him. It is easy to go in and absolutely take the paint off the wall. I knew that wouldn't do him any good.

"When someone makes a mistake - a genuine one –and with how young he is...I thought he responded brilliantly in the second half. He tried to be a bit clever.

"He didn't let it affect him, which was great. But when you're playing at this level and you make mistake with the calibre of strikers you're playing against, you know that's what can happen.

"The goal is a mistake. I wouldn't have minded if someone had put one in the top corner with a bit of skill. But it's a mistake by us."

City boss Roberto Mancini backed Villa to avoid the drop and insisted his own players will keep on fighting for the Premier League title despite a 12-point gap between themselves and Manchester United.

"Villa will stay in the Premier League I think," said Mancini.

"They are a good team, they have a very young team and maybe they need some experience but they play good football.

"We need to win all 10 matches. It was really important to win this game. For us it was important to stay 12 points behind United, because with 10 games left you never say never. The championship is not finished."