Lambert: Hull is a cup final
Paul Lambert has dubbed Aston Villa's clash at home to Hull City as a 'cup final' after watching his side lose 4-1 at Swansea.
The defeat at the Liberty Stadium leaves Villa in 16th place, just four points above the drop zone having failed to win in any of their last six Premier League outings.
Wilfried Bony's opener was cancelled out by Gabriel Agbonlahor's close-range finish, but goals from Jonjo Shelvey, Pablo Hernandez and a penalty from Bony added to Villa's misery.
Although West Brom secured a vital win over West Ham, Fulham squandered a two-goal lead at home to Hull to draw 2-2, meaning that they remain in the bottom three and Villa keep their cushion.
With three games remaining this season, Lambert underlined the importance of Hull's visit to Villa Park as they still have to go to Manchester City and then Tottenham in their final two fixtures.
"I don't know all the results but I heard one or two and that keeps you there above that line which is the most important thing. But next week's game is a must win game," he told Sky Sports.
"Three very tough games we've got. The lads know how big the game is next week and they know it's a cup final."
Villa enjoyed some decent spells of play in South Wales, but ultimately they rarely tested Michel Vorm in the opposite net and Lambert admitted his frustration at the loss.
"I'm really disappointed to lose, especially as we started the game really well," he said.
"We lose a goal to go 1-0 down but I thought deservedly we got right back into the game. We had a really good go and we looked really good."
Shelvey scored a wonder-goal from long range to put Swansea back in front, but Lambert bemoaned the Villa defending that lead to it as Brad Guzan tussled with Bony before Ron Vlaar's clearance was poor.
"It's a major turning point, the second goal. It was a great finish but it was an error from our part," he said.
"From a goalkeeper who has been absolutely brilliant from me for the two season's I've been here, there's no criticism from me in that part because Brad Guzan has been excellent for me in the two-year period with some wonderful saves and I'm pretty sure he's down at the minute.
"There wasn't too much in it at that time and the second goal was a major turning point in that.
"The half-time wasn't too despondent because you're only one goal down, we're well in the game and the third goal definitely took the wind out of our sails.
Speaking of the penalty which lead to Swansea's fourth goal, Lambert added: "I think to lose that was a bit disappointing because I thought Gabby had made one in the first half, and that happens, but the referee gave a penalty and obviously they've scored."