Aston Villa caretaker manager Scott Marshall has told Sky Sports News HQ that the squad were disappointed to see Paul Lambert go, despite claims that the Scot had lost the dressing room.
Tuesday night’s disappointing 2-0 defeat at fellow strugglers Hull City saw Villa drop into the relegation zone for the first time this season amid a dismal run of two wins in 21 top-flight games, with the club giving Lambert his marching orders just 24 hours later.
On course to be Premier League’s lowest-ever scorers after netting just 12 goals in 25 matches, Villa director General Charles Krulak has since claimed in an interview with the Sun that those within the club had lost faith in Lambert’s leadership, but Marshall insists that was far from the case.
“Initially, the manager had a lengthy chat with all the boys after the [Hull] game, and we understood what was needed from now until the end of the season,” he said.
“I had a brief conversation at the start of training this morning with them but didn’t dwell too much on it.
“The Lads are obviously disappointed the manager’s gone. There was a lot of respect between the group and the manager, and the manager and the group, so everybody’s disappointed about it.”
Former Tottenham Hotspur boss Tim Sherwood remains the favourite to replace Lambert, but Marshall believes a club of Villa’s stature needs someone experienced at the helm, ruling himself out of the running as a result.
“This is not a job for someone to cut their teeth on,” he continued. “This is all new to me, but I’m happy to do it while things are being sorted.
“It’s a big club and there aren’t many things which are going to prepare you for this experience, so I think a manager with experience is probably necessary.”
Marshall, first-team coach, is now set to take charge of the side for the weekend’s fifth-round FA Cup tie against Leicester at Villa Park, with goalkeeping coach Andy Marshall assisting him.
The former Arsenal defender worked under Lambert at Norwich before being brought to the West Midlands in June 2013, and admits it was tough to see a close friend handed his marching orders.
“Absolutely, he’s been really good to me,” he added. “He gave me an opportunity at Norwich and then brought me here to work at a great club, so I’m hugely disappointed that’s not going to continue.
"I’m sure he will be back in work soon. You don’t have a career like he has had without having setbacks. He’ll be back – that’s the sort of character he is.”
Marshall also stressed that he won’t be making wholesale changes to the line-up or tactics, despite the team’s recent struggles.
“No, I haven’t had any conversations like that. Obviously I’ve contributed all through the season so there aren’t going to be any major changes.”