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Villa boss Lambert can't believe Sunderland dumped O'Neill

Aston Villa boss Paul Lambert feels Sunderland gaffed getting rid of former manager Martin O'Neill.

Lambert is a confirmed disciple of the Ireland manager and had little hesitation naming his former Celtic mentor as being on a par with two-time European Cup winner Ottmar Hitzfeld.

"Martin O'Neill was a great manager," said Villa's boss, "I know him pretty well and I loved my five years with him. I got my fair share of rollickings off him. But you're a man playing a man's game - you take it.

"He's one of the best managers I've worked with. I still call him 'gaffer'.

"But then I do that with most of the managers I played under. I still say it to Ottmar Hitzfeld. The only difference is that I call him: 'Mr Hitzfeld'.

"He has to be up there. To win two European Cups with two different clubs, Mr Hitzfeld is up there. Has to be.

"But so is Martin. I still keep in contact with them. They might be totally different but they are both fantastic at their jobs."

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