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Lambert remaining upbeat heading into 2014

Lambert's men will begin the new year having gone five games without a win in the Premier League.

A failure to beat Crystal Palace or Swansea City in back-to-back home games last week led to frustration at Villa Park.

However, Lambert is convinced Villa, who sit 13th in the table, still have reason to be optimistic.

"We are three points off 10th. It's not all doom and gloom," said the Scot ahead of the New Year's Day visit to bottom club Sunderland.

"It's how people want to portray it. I am certainly not a negative person.

"People get carried away that just because you don't beat Palace it's an absolute disaster. I'm not going to feel really down because of Palace or Swansea.

"We are not sitting not too bad in the table. That top half may be breaking away but there are 10 other teams fighting for everything.

"There are not many games where we don't compete. You look at the table and we're sitting pretty decent.

"Ideally, we want to play better, there's no two ways about it.

"But on Saturday (against Swansea) it was important to stop that sequence of losing. That was paramount. The lads did that (by securing a 1-1 draw)."

Lambert feels Villa have been unfortunate on the injury front in the current campaign.

"We have had a few injuries to big players, the likes of Ron Vlaar, Jores Okore, Gabby Agbonlahor and Andreas Weimann at certain times, which we can't carry.

"We have to have everyone fit to have a strong squad. But we are still well in that mid-table section.

"Hopefully one or two are coming back now. We will be in a better place for it.

"The turn of the last year we went on a great run. We will try and do it again."