Ireland confident Aston Villa can avoid relegation scrap

The Irish midfielder believes new manager Paul Lambert can steer the club away from the relegation troubles they endured last season under former boss Alex McLeish
Stephen Ireland is confident that the appointment of Paul Lambert as the new manager of Aston Villa will help the club move higher up the table this coming season and avoid another relegation battle.

Ireland believes that Lambert, who finished the season four places and nine points above Aston Villa last season with Norwich, has already begun to reinvigorate the side and alter the overly cautious and defensive ethos installed under former manager Alex McLeish.
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"Our tactics in the last couple of seasons were clearly wrong because we were fighting relegation, but I'm really confident that's not going to happen again," Ireland told the Birmingham Mail.

"The confidence in all the players is sky high at the moment and it's nice to see because I think the club deserve better and the fans deserve better than what's been happening.

"I think it's going to be a really positive season for us at this club."

The Irish midfielder, who scored 13 goals and made 13 assists in the 2008-09 season with Manchester City, has also expressed his pleasure at the style of football Lambert promotes and believes the entire team is benefiting from the change in emphasis.

"It's really encouraging to play football. He's pretty much saying we have to win the ball, keep the ball and score through good running," Ireland continued.

"I know he's only been here for a few weeks, but you can already tell that the players are developing. You can see the boys are willing to have the ball under pressure.

"There is no hiding place anymore, really. You can't hide behind certain players or rely on certain players to win the ball anymore. We all have to do it for the team."