Lambert's plan to make Aston Villa the fittest team in English football

Paul Lambert is making no secret over the fact he expects Aston Villa’s pre-season tour of Germany to be gruelling.

Lambert takes his side to the country where he used to play, to get them into shape ahead of the new season as Aston Villa attempt to avoid the relegation battle they went through last season.

The message from Lambert is clear; don’t expect a holiday and prepare to be run into the ground.

Villa play three friendly matches against German teams and will work on the fitness side of things before and after those matches.

It’s a pre-season schedule which does have its merits because Lambert is fully aware the club cannot slip into that relegation dogfight all over again.

“Germany will be extremely tough. Especially if the weather gets the way it could go and there will be three difficult games out there. The priority for us is to work,” said Lambert.

Taking the stick approach over the carrot should ensure that Aston Villa shape up to be a very fit team at the start of the season, which should give them an edge over sides that may have slightly under prepared.

He’s obviously looking to get the team into a position where they can compete late into games, where the odd goal could make a difference and secure a point or points which are vital by the end of the season.

However, he has to get the balance right because it will be disastrous for the club if the younger players head into competitive games, fatigued because of the way they have been run into the ground over pre-season.

“You’ve got to be fit. Modern-day football dictates that you have to be fit to get around the pitch, which is important,” he added.

There should be little danger of fatigue kicking in because this is a very young Aston Villa side, capable of doing the hard work and running the yards with quicker recovery periods in between.

Villa are also a team filled with younger players looking to press and that eagerness should ensure there is no form of dissent in any way, shape or form because of the way the team is trained pre-season.

Lambert is not being brutal for the sake of being brutal, he’s planned a tough schedule for the sake of giving his team the best chance to play well and dominate when the competitive games kick in.

As long as the balance is correct in terms of players staying happen through pre-season and the side avoiding injuries to key players, there is nothing wrong with the way Villa are shaping up.

Other bosses could learn a thing or two from Lambert, with a kick back to the old school era where pre-seasons were brutal for the simple aim of hardening each player’s cardiovascular system.

What do you make of his approach? Good idea or do you think it might backfire?

image: © ell-r-brown

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