Lambert denies Aston Villa are in relegation mix after Crystal Palace defeat

The 44-year-old saw his side fall to their fourth straight league defeat but denied his side are stuck in a battle at the bottom of the league after Dwight Gayle's late winner
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has urged fans to stick together and laughed off suggestions his team are embroiled in a relegation battle after falling short in a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Crystal Palace.

The 44-year-old saw his side succumb to their fourth straight defeat after a last-minute strike from Dwight Gayle stole three points for the visitors as they climbed out of the relegation zone.

Defeat places Villa just three points off the relegation places yet Lambert does not believe his side are in a relegation battle, instead insisting his attentions are switched to their next game at home to Swansea.

"No. If you look at the table at the lower side of it everybody in that side is doing the exact same as us," he told reporters. "I’m not going to be downbeat here and I’ll pick them up and go again on Saturday.

"The way we bounce back is if we win it and that’s what we’ll try to do and try and give them [the fans] something to go with. You stick with it and that’s important. It’s important that everybody sticks together.

"It was tough to take. I thought today's game was really tight. I think Tony [Pulis] got it right. They defended well and defended deep. It was hard because we needed that creativity and we needed a goal."

Pulis praised the strike from Gayle and the performance from his side that helped push Palace out of the bottom three and he was pleased his tactics - to rattle the home side and their fans - worked.

"It was a fantastic strike from Gayle," the Eagles boss admitted. "He can do that and it’s normal for myself to see it go in. But it shouldn’t take away from the rest of the lads and what they’ve given today.

"We knew that if we came here and keep them quiet then the crowd might get a bit restless and that’s what we managed to do. The first 45 minutes was always going to be important for us.

"It was a significant result in respect of the Newcastle result, getting beat at home. We got back to basics today and made it very, very difficult for people to get into certain areas."