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Lambert offers backing to Moyes
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has backed David Moyes to "get the job right" at Manchester United and branded criticism of his fellow Scot as "pretty harsh".
United, the defending Barclays Premier League champions, have so far had a hugely disappointing 2013/14 campaign following Moyes' appointment as manager over the summer, and ahead of Sunday's trip to Villa the Red Devils are ninth in the table, 13 points adrift of leaders Arsenal.
The way things have gone for the Old Trafford club under their new boss has generated plenty of talk of a crisis, but Lambert said: "I think people are getting carried away by where United are in the table.
"They are still a top club with top players.
"Any manager going in there - it doesn't matter who it was, what country they came from, anything - after probably the most successful manager Britain has ever produced (Moyes' predecessor Sir Alex Ferguson) was always going to find that really hard to do.
"So I think the criticism is a bit over the top.
"They have had success for years and years, and when you fall below that really high standard, then people jump on the bandwagon and say they are a spent force. I never really buy into that.
"I'm pretty sure David Moyes will get that job right.
"He is a really good manager and a good guy - I'm convinced he will get that job right.
"He is just in the door. I think some of the criticism has been pretty harsh."
Lambert dismissed the suggestion that the presence of Ferguson, who guided United to 13 Premier League and two Champions League titles, watching the club's games from the stands this season was unhelpful for his Red Devils successor.
The Villa boss also stressed his confidence in Moyes' man-management skills.
Pundit Mark Lawrenson recently suggested United striker Robin van Persie is keen for a transfer - something Moyes subsequently described as "absolute nonsense".
And, asked about that situation, Lambert made reference to Wayne Rooney, the United frontman who had looked set to possibly move on over the summer but has been in impressive form for them this term.
Lambert said: "He (Moyes) went into a situation with Wayne Rooney and Rooney has been playing really well.
"David Moyes has been in the game longer than I have and he will know how to handle it."
Van Persie will not feature against Villa, with it emerging on Friday that the Holland international will be sidelined for a month due to a thigh injury.
Asked for his reaction to that news, Lambert once more pointed to Rooney, who is available in the league again after suspension and, like Van Persie, has scored 10 goals for United in all competitions this season.
"He (Van Persie) is a great player, but they have great players to come in," Lambert said.
"Rooney comes in from suspension - they still have great players."
Villa - currently 11th in the table, three points worse off than United - will be without midfielder Fabian Delph for the contest.
Delph is suspended having picked up his fifth yellow card of the season in the 2-0 defeat at Fulham last weekend.
In terms of injuries in his squad, Lambert has reported that centre-back Ron Vlaar is "struggling" with his calf problem, but indicated that full-back Antonio Luna and striker Libor Kozak - recently sidelined by groin and toe complaints respectively - may be available on Sunday.