Lambert protects his young side
Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert has played down exchanges between himself and Jose Mourinho - and vowed to keep standing up for his side.
Lambert and the Chelsea boss had what appeared to be some heated arguments by the touchline during Villa's 2-1 Premier League loss to the Blues at Stamford Bridge on Wednesday evening, with the former unhappy about two particular incidents.
The Scot felt Branislav Ivanovic should have been sent off for catching Christian Benteke with an arm - the defender instead received a booking before going on to score the winning goal - and that Villa were denied a legitimate penalty late on for a handball by John Terry.
Speaking at a press conference on Thursday morning to preview Saturday's home league clash with Liverpool, Lambert insisted what he and Mourinho had engaged in was predominantly "banter".
But he stressed as well that he very much sees it as his role to "protect" Villa.
The 44-year old said: "I'm going to protect Aston Villa. My job is to protect the team, the supporters, the football club. I'm going to fight my corner.
"Every manager does. Every manager sticks up for their own, it's normal."
On Mourinho, he said: "I think there has been a lot made of me and Jose in the technical area.
"There was the odd little thing, but there was a lot of banter between us."
When it was put to him that Mourinho had said after the match that Lambert "complains with every decision", the Villa manager said: "So did he. It is the same. The two of us shout at referees and officials and everything.
"I'm not going to go there and lie down, and neither is Jose.
"A lot has been made of me moaning - he does his fair share as well, just to let you know.
"It is not a problem. We had a bit of banter between us and I saw him afterwards. I like him and he is a brilliant football manager."
Lambert also suggested Chelsea would have been awarded a penalty if a Villa player had done something similar to Terry's apparent handball in the box the Blues were attacking.
"I spoke to Kevin (Friend, the referee for the match) afterwards, and obviously what is said in there stays in there," Lambert said.
"But I didn't need to speak to him really.
"It's a stone-waller, a clear penalty.
"Gabby (Gabriel Agbonlahor) has won a header and it has hit John's hand. I'm pretty sure if it had been down the other end, it would have been given."
Asked if he felt like he had to accept that 'big clubs' get decisions in their favour, Lambert said: "I have already spoken to (Professional Game Match Officials Board head) Mike Riley on it. They can watch the DVDs. You just want the big decisions to be right.
"All you can do is take it up with Mike and put your point across. But it's not going to bring us three points."
The former Borussia Dortmund and Celtic midfielder added: "We (the teams he played for) got decisions.
"Because you have a massive crowd, sometimes it's human nature. And everyone makes mistakes.
"I just think, especially when they are as big as that, you can't get them wrong.
"Little ones you can understand because of the pace of the game, but when they're as blatant as that, it is a bit different."
Villa defender Ciaran Clark was forced off in the first half of the Chelsea contest with a head injury but should be available for the visit of Liverpool, while midfielder Chris Herd could be in contention for a first appearance this term following his calf problem.
Defender Nathan Baker (ankle) remains a doubt and winger Charles N'Zogbia (Achilles) definitely misses out.
Villa head into the Liverpool fixture, their first home game of the season, with three points from their two league matches having won 3-1 at Arsenal on the opening day of the campaign.