A phrase that many a tight fisted chairman has utilised through the years and yet it carries more than a lion’s share of truth. Aston Villa are fast becoming a resolute side akin to the Knight from the Monty Python series – they are never beaten. The Knight in question in the film is torn limb from limb and yet comes back for more. Aston Villa have come from the dead more than anyone thus far this season. Still early in the campaign, they have come from behind five times displaying a “never say die” attitude in the process that is starting to catch the eye.
Man City, a squad assembled with hundreds of millions of pounds, were the latest to experience the Villa never say die attitude. Twice they took the lead and twice more the boys in claret and blue came from behind. Paul Lambert in some eyes is turning water into wine down at Villa Park, assembling a squad with youthful exuberance at a fraction of the cost of many of his Premier League rivals.
Villa are showing green shoots of recovery on the pitch while employing a degree of austerity measures off the pitch after years of over indulgence in a bid to break into the Champions League. The club fell short and the financial landscape of the Premier League changed, thus meaning Villa had to devise an alternative way to compete with the big boys as the financial muscle of the midlands club could not realistically sustain a monumental challenge. Villa now has a young relatively inexperienced manager who is investing in youth utilising a far reaching scouting network.
The fruits of the Villa labour are widely published in the form of the lavished praise hipped upon star striker Christen Benteke, yet his rise to prominence may be only one of many to come through the claret and blue dugout. At the weekend, Leandro Bacuna showed the skill and touch of a man far beyond his slender years in age. The road ahead of Villa is long and fraught with danger, but with youth comes bravery and clearly a never say die attitude that is contributing greatly to Villa’s ability to fight back when conceding goals regardless of the calibre of opposition. Peter Schmeichel said at the weekend “they (fans/players) love Paul Lambert. Aston Villa will be a real force in a few years.”
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