Paul Lambert insists he did not disrespect the FA Cup last week, as his Aston Villa side suffered a shock third round exit on Saturday.
The Scottish coach was quoted as saying the most famous club competition in world football was something he and his rival managers could do without at the moment, as they are instead more concerned with the Premier League. Villa are currently in mid-table in the standings, yet just six points clear of the relegation zone.
These comments sparked a debate amongst his counterparts as well as many fans up and down the country, the majority of whom disagreed with his statement. But despite his words, Lambert fielded a fairly strong side for the visit of Sheffield United on Saturday, with just three changes from the league clash with Sunderland on New Year’s Day.
However, the League One side, who currently sit 50 places behind the Midlands giants, recorded a shock 2-1 win to progress into the fourth round. This was naturally greeted with an angry reaction by the home fans, but Lambert, who insists he is as upset as anyone, claims his comments on the importance of the cup were misunderstood.
“I never demeaned the competition one bit,” he said. “I respect its history and I respect what the competition is about. If you look at my own career, I’ve won some nice things through cup competitions. The context of the whole interview (was missed). I am bitterly disappointed. I picked a really strong side to try to get through.”