Lambert rues tough start to Aston Villa's season

The 44-year-old admits his side have endured a difficult opening to the campaign and has urged his players to relish playing in front of a home crowd at Villa Park
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert insists there is a long way to go in the season following the club's third consecutive Premier League loss.

Villa began the campaign in excellent fashion when they beat Arsenal 3-1 at the Emirates Stadium, but subsequent matches against Chelsea and Liverpool saw them slip to defeat.

Villa hosted Newcastle United on Saturday as they targeted a return to winning ways, but goals from Hatem Ben Arfa and Yoan Gouffran were enough for Alan Pardew's side to come away with the three points despite Christian Benteke briefly pulling the hosts level.

"The start we have had has been hard, but this was a bad one to lose," Lambert said.

"But if you look at all the results, there have been plenty of draws, and we are only four games into the season. There is a long, long way to go."

Villa fans were unhappy with the performances of some of their players against Newcastle, but Lambert does not feel supporter pressure is a problem and insists his team must enjoy playing at home, not resent it.

He added: "I'm not one for excuses. You have to thrive on that crowd and playing in front of it - it is a great crowd to play in front of.

"You have to be able to handle it."