Struggling Villa bring Lambert’s reign to an end

Ross McLean
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Villa have lost their last five league games
ASTON Villa have begun their search for a new manager after last night sacking Paul Lambert following a disastrous run of form which sees the club embroiled in a battle for Premier League survival.

A 2-0 reverse to fellow strugglers Hull City on Tuesday evening meant a fifth successive Premier League defeat and 10th league match without victory, a sequence of results which proved the final straw for the club’s board as Villa slipped into the bottom three for the first time this season.

The Villains’ haul of just 12 league goals this season is the lowest after 25 matches in Premier League history, only beaten in the annals of top-flight football by Leicester City’s tally of 11 in 1977/78.

“Aston Villa Football Club has parted company this evening with manager Paul Lambert,” a club statement read.

“The club would like to place on record its thanks to Paul and take this opportunity to wish him every success in the future. The club will announce a new manager in due course.”

First-team coach Scott Marshall and goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall have taken caretaker charge and will continue preparations for Villa’s FA Cup fifth-round clash at home to Leicester on Sunday.

The 45-year-old remained defiant in the wake of defeat at Hull after a section of the club’s travelling support unfurled banners demanding his departure, while the Birmingham Mail yesterday published a “Lambert must go” editorial.

Lambert was appointed in June 2012 as a replacement for Alex McLeish and only signed a new four-year contract in September after Villa briefly topped the table in August following three wins from their opening four fixtures.

Since the former Norwich boss committed his future to the club, Villa have recorded just two wins in 21 matches, while Jores Okore’s strike against Chelsea on Saturday ended a run of 659 minutes without a goal.