Global Sports : Lerner: We Did Back Lambert

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Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner has defended the club’s transfer dealings during Paul Lambert’s time as manager.
Villa dismissed Lambert after 32 months on Wednesday in the wake of a defeat at Hull which left them in the Premier League relegation places and with just 12 goals in 25 games.
But Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher partly laid the blame for Villa’s long-term troubles at the door of the board, claiming “lack of investment is killing the biggest club in the Midlands.”
And in a statement released through the League Managers’ Association on Thursday Lambert revealed Lerner had told him the Villa job would be “the toughest challenge of my working life”.
He also said his “initial remit was to conduct a massive overhaul of the playing squad, lower the overall wage structure of the playing staff and achieve this whilst keeping the club in the Barclays Premier League.”
But a statement from Lerner later on Thursday claimed his investment has left the club in a stronger position now than it was when Lambert arrived.
It read: “Following several brutally challenging years at Villa, Paul Lambert arrived with a fresh view and a proven style and track record. It was our hope, and belief, that Aston Villa would find its footing and strengthen during Paul’s tenure with the club.
“Adding players and investing in the squad over the last three years has strengthened Villa, and it is our hope that given the quality, leadership and team spirit at Bodymoor Heath that we can rise to the occasion for the remainder of the season.
“I want very much to thank Paul for his commitment to me personally, and to Villa, and wish him well personally and professionally in his future endeavors.”
Lambert’s statement was equally gracious towards Lerner, and the Scot also thanked everyone at Villa from former chief executive Paul Faulkner to the supporters, players and coaching staff.
But there was no mention of current chief executive Tom Fox, the American recruited from Arsenal in August as Faulkner’s replacement, and Sky sources understand Lambert was furious at the manner of his sacking.
It is understood Lambert was at Villa’s Bodymoor Heath training ground on Wednesday when he received a phone call from Fox informing him of the board’s decision, and he was then refused when he asked for a face-to-face meeting.
Villa’s search for a new manager is now under way, and Derby manager Steve McClaren has already distanced himself from the position along with former Chelsea boss Avram Grant.
Tim Sherwood is Sky Bet’s 1/3 favourite for the post ahead of Glenn Hoddle, Jurgen Klinsmann and Sean Dyche.
In the meantime, first-team coach Scott Marshall and goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall (the pair are unrelated), will take charge for Saturday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie with Leicester.

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