Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has defended Manchester United loanee Tom Cleverley after the midfielder was substituted to ironic jeers from a section of the club’s supporters in Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Chelsea.
Cleverley is on a season-long loan at Villa with his contract expiring at the end of the current campaign and has had a tough time of it at Villa Park so far.
Villa have won just twice in 20 games with Cleverley struggling to make an impact but Lambert cannot fault the Englishman’s work rate but feels he is trying too hard to improve his form.
Speaking about Cleverley, Lambert said: “Tom has played in massive games, he is no novice. Confidence goes when you don’t want to take the ball.
“He has got confidence, it is nothing to do with hiding from the ball, the boy takes the ball and gives everything he has got. I don’t think it is that.
“He may be trying too hard which can go against you. He keeps on going with the ball and that is a big testament for him that he keeps doing it.”
A large majority of United fans were glad to see the back of Cleverley after some increasingly mediocre performances last season. Unfortunately for the 25-year-old, he was just not good enough to play for the club.
Cleverley’s time as a United player almost certainly looks over as he’ll more than likely leave in the summer and off the back of his stale loan spell at Villa, it seem like the right time to part ways.