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Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert 'potty' over set piece concessions

Updated: Tuesday, 22 Jan 2013 08:28 | Comments

WBA's Peter Odemwingie scored from a corner to deny Villa all three points on Saturday
WBA's Peter Odemwingie scored from a corner to deny Villa all three points on Saturday

Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert admits the number of goals his side are conceding from set pieces is driving him "potty".

Villa's vulnerability at free-kicks and corners has been severely punished and is a key reason why they are locked in a Premier League relegation battle.

It proved expensive again on Saturday as West Brom striker Peter Odemwingie scored a late equaliser in a 2-2 draw after Gareth McAuley had won the initial header from Chris Brunt's corner.

And Lambert also knows Villa paid the price in the first leg of their Capital One Cup semi-final at Bradford as they attempt to overturn a 3-1 deficit on Tuesday.

He said: "It does drive you mad. It's not rocket science. You go man for man. If it's your man who scores, then we know who was supposed to pick them up.

"If you're up against an opponent, you just have to make sure that you go and put your head on it."

"Does it drive me potty? Yes, it does. We practice and practice and practice them" - Paul Lambert

He added: "Is it a mental thing? I'm not sure why it is. It's just a bog-standard ball into the box (for Odemwingie's equaliser).

"We saw it against Bradford. We have to make sure we get a head on the ball.

"Does it drive me potty? Yes, it does. We practice and practice and practice them. You can never replicate that in a match but they know their jobs."

Skipper Ron Vlaar, who made his comeback after a lengthy absence with a calf problem against Albion, said: "It is obvious we have to concede less goals and make that area better.

"It shouldn't happen that easy from set pieces because they are cheap goals we are giving away.

"If you can't head the ball yourself, you have to make sure your opponent doesn't either.

"You could see what we were capable of against Albion with the way we played. It is too bad we conceded another goal from a corner kick."

The big plus point for Lambert was the form of winger Charles N'Zogbia, who is finally starting to live up to his £9million price tag and set up both goals against West Brom.

The former Wigan player has only just returned to the side after a lengthy lay-off with a knee problem but tormented the Baggies defence.

Lambert said: "Charles is really talented and is the kind of player who can create things where other players might not even try it.

"They have the ability to try to make things happen and you can see them making mistakes here and there because they are trying something other players won't.

"But against West Brom I thought Charles was excellent. To be creative is not an easy thing but he's got that ability to do it."

Christian Benteke and Gabriel Agbonlahor fired Villa into a 2-0 half-time lead, but second-half goals from Brunt and Odemwingie salvaged a point for the home side.

Aston Villa v Bradford team news

Striker Andreas Weimann is available after illness.

Weimann scored Villa's only goal in the 3-1 first-leg setback at the Coral Windows Stadium.

But defender Nathan Baker (hamstring) has been ruled out, midfielder Ashley Westwood is cup-tied, while Villa manager Paul Lambert will make late fitness checks on goalkeeper Shay Given (hamstring) and midfielder Fabian Delph (ankle).

Provisional squad: Guzan, Given, Marshall, Lowton, Vlaar, Clark, Lichaj, Stevens, Bennett, Ireland, N'Zogbia, Bannan, Delph, Holman, Benteke, Agbonlahor, Bent, Bowery, Weimann, Burke, Johnson, Williams, Carruthers.

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