Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert promises to keep on fighting

By Phil McNultyChief football writer, BBC Sport
Villa 'will never have better chance'

Paul Lambert insists he will fight on as Aston Villa manager - despite admitting he was "absolutely gutted" by the Capital One Cup semi-final loss to League Two Bradford City.

Villa won the second leg at Villa Park 2-1 but saw a difficult season plunged even deeper into crisis as Bradford won 4-3 on aggregate.

Lambert said: "I am absolutely gutted, hurt, disappointed, everything.

"You can either lie down or come out fighting and I will come out fighting."

The cup competitions have provided Villa some respite from their Premier League woes this season, with the Midlands club battling against the very real possibility of relegation.

The hosts had played well in the first half and were good value for their lead when Christian Benteke flicked home in the 24th minute.

But they failed to build on that in the second half and they were punished when James Hanson headed in from a corner.

Andreas Weimann rounded Matt Duke a minute before time to put Villa ahead on the night, but it was not enough to deny Bradford their place in the final, where face either Swansea City or Chelsea.

"We will never have a better chance to get to a cup final throughout our whole careers," added Lambert.

"I can't repeat what was said to the players in the dressing room and no manager would tell you that, but everyone is hurting. They might take 10 or 12 years to even get close again."

The Scot was looking to a Wembley appearance to lift a desperate campaign but was in defiant mood as he insisted he is still the right man for the job he took over from Alex McLeish in the summer.

"Ask any manager and they will say they will get on with it until they hear something different," he said.

"I know exactly how our fans are hurting because I am hurting exactly the same. The crowd were right with us and we let them down."

Villa were once again damaged by their inability to defend corners as Hanson scored Bradford's crucial goal.

Lambert said: "We have lost four goals from set pieces in this semi-final and it's not good enough. It's simple enough to do - it's man for man at corners.

"The players know their responsibilities and it's 'man for man and me against you'. That is not hard to understand. It is black and white and yet we've conceded from a corner again."