By Oliver Platt
Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert hopes to spoil Manchester United’s title party by claiming a vital three points at Old Trafford to boost their hopes of Premier League survival.
The Red Devils will be crowned English champions for a record-breaking 20th time if they see off Lambert’s team on Monday night following Manchester City’s defeat against Tottenham on Sunday.
A victory for the visitors, however, would see them pull six points clear of the drop zone – though Wigan will hold a game in hand – and Lambert believes his players will embrace the occasion.
“The party atmosphere could help us but I don’t want them to win [the title] against us, because I want to try and win ourselves,” the former Norwich boss told reporters.
“If you don’t enjoy going there and playing in that environment, then there’s something seriously wrong with you.
“You’ve got to go there and enjoy it and handle it. I don’t think they’ll be nervy about it, I think they’ll go to enjoy it.
“We have to fight for everything to stay in the league. I’m always positive over it and our job is to keep this club in the league and keep building it.
“I think I said a number of weeks ago there will be other teams getting dragged into this and it’s happened.
“It’s going to be tough and no-one expects anything from us but we’re going to go there to try to win it.”
Villa will be cheered on by captain Stiliyan Petrov, who is now in remission after a year of treatment for leukaemia and will attend the game at the invitation of injured United winger Ashley Young.
“I’m going to watch the game with Ashley and we had a little bet,” the Bulgarian revealed. “He wasn’t happy, but I said we’re going to take something from the game.
“It will be exciting. The boys are looking forward to the game.”