Villa snag vital win over Reading
Agence France-Presse in Reading
Paul Lambert believes Aston Villa have taken a huge step towards ensuring their Premier League status for another season after Gabriel Agbonlahor's stunning strike clinched a 2-1 win over fellow strugglers Reading at the Madejski Stadium.
The victory lifted Villa out of the bottom three as they seek to avoid relegation for the first time since 1987, with another crucial clash to come at home to QPR this week.
"It was a massive game, a big pressure game and everybody knew that," Lambert said. "There was a long way to go when Nathan [Baker] scored the own goal but the players kept on fighting and I thought we deserved the victory.
"I thought the move for Gabby's goal was brilliant and the finish was just world class.
"The performances he's turned in have been big, big performances for us. The players don't look like a team that's lacking in confidence, that's for sure. "If we keep doing what we're doing, we'll be all right."
Reading started strongly but wasted two great opportunities to take an early lead through Adam Le Fondre and Hal Robson-Kanu.
After QPR's win over Sunderland, Reading only avoided slipping to the foot of the table due to a superior amount of goals scored.
But even with Manchester United and Arsenal up next, Reading boss Brian McDermott has promised his side will not give up hope of staying up until the last kick of the season.
"We're very much hurting but now we have to pick ourselves up and turn it around," he said.
"You either give up or get back on it so we'll try to get over this disappointment and carry on."