Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert defends FA Cup stance

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert says his comments questioning the importance of the FA Cup were taken out of context.

Lambert said top-flight managers could do without the cup "if they were being honest" prior to his side losing 2-1 to Sheffield United in the third round.

"I never decried the FA Cup in any shape or form," said Lambert.

"I never demeaned the competition. I respect its history. I put out the strongest team I could do to try to win the game."

For us and our 6,000 fans who came, you saw how much it meant to us

Nigel Clough Sheffield United manager

He added: "The FA Cup is a brilliant competition and everybody wants to do well in it.

"If you look at my own career, I won things in cup competitions. I won a few leagues here and there but actually won competitions so I am not degrading it."

Villa beat Sunderland 1-0 in the Premier League on Wednesday and Lambert made three changes as he fielded a strong side for the game against League One relegation battlers Sheffield United.

However, the Midlands side went behind to a Jamie Murphy goal and, despite a Nicklas Helenius equaliser, Ryan Flynn won the game for the Blades with a late winner.

"I don't think we did enough to go through and that is me being honest," said Lambert. "Good luck to Sheffield United in the next round.

"We had a lot of the ball and huffed and puffed. It was one of those kind of games.

"I know it (an upset) can happen and it is not a great feeling when things like that happen to you."

FA Cup fourth round draw

When: Sunday, 5 January 2014

Where: Wembley Stadium

Time: 1400 GMT

Who: Cousins Martin and Paul Allen, who both played for West Ham, will make the draw after the Hammers face Nottingham Forest.

Fourth round dates: Ties to be played over the weekend of 25 and 26 January 2014

Villa were booed off by their own fans at the end and Lambert said: "The fans pay their money to come to watch and that is part of the game.

"It is up to us to give them something to be happy about and we have not done that. Everybody knows I am not the happiest person when we lose."

Sheffield United manager Nigel Clough defended Lambert and says he is hoping for a home draw in the next round of a "special" competition.

"I don't think he [Lambert] was disrespecting the FA Cup - he was just stating very honestly what the situation is like in the Premier League at the moment," said Clough.

"It is just a bit sad that the FA Cup, such a wonderful competition, takes a back seat but that is the reality of it."

Clough's side are one point above the League One relegation zone and he added: "For us and our 6,000 fans who came, I think you saw how much it meant.

"It's still a special, special competition and we'd just like a home draw next because we've had three away games on the spin so it would be nice to get one at Bramall Lane."