Fergie backs Lambert's youth policy at Villa

Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is certain Aston Villa will benefit from Paul Lambert's youth strategy whether they remain in the Premier League or not.

Football News: Aston Villa, Premier League

Despite picking up 10 points from their last five games, Villa remain in bother at the bottom of the league, just three points above the drop zone.

Indeed, if Wigan win at West Ham on Saturday, Lambert's side will be back in the third relegation spot ahead of Monday's trip to champions-elect Manchester United.

Yet even if they lose their survival fight, Ferguson is adamant there will be a positive spin-off from Lambert's first season in charge.

"Young people give you a future by creating a strong blend that can last for a few years," said Ferguson.

"Young players will always remember the manager who gave them their first start.

"The team will improve because of that, I am sure of it.

"Paul had the courage to do it and even if they were to go down, Villa have a structure that should bring them right back up.

"But on the evidence of what we've seen recently they've every chance of staying up anyway."

Certainly Villa seem transformed from the team that conceded 15 goals in three games over the Christmas period, even if the damage to their goal difference remains, and lost a two-legged Capital One Cup semi-final to League Two Bradford.

And, while United should get three of the six points needed to clinch a record 20th title, Ferguson is not anticipating an easy evening.

"We expect a scrap," he said.

"The least you expect is for a team to fight for everything when they're down there.

"Villa showed against Stoke that they have a bit of life about them and they should have won their game against last week.

"When I saw the structure of those teams, they looked really positive selections.

"A lot of teams in that situation may pick a team to get something out of the game. Paul Lambert picked a team to win. There is a distinction."

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