Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert is widely reported to have criticised Southampton boss Ronald Koeman over his supposed public chase of defender Ron Vlaar – even though the Saints manager last week clarified that he is not interested in signing the centre half.

Koeman has been quoted by a Dutch news outlet praising Vlaar, who he managed at Feyenoord, when asked about his World Cup performances during the club’s pre-season tour but has since clarified his comments and signed Florin Gardos, which he confirmed last week had solved his centre half dilemma.

When asked about Vlaar last Friday, the Saints manager explained: “No, that’s not true, because we signed Gardos, and that’s it.

“That rumour was when I was in the pre-season in Belgium and the journalist of the television of Holland asked me about the situation of Vlaar and we spoke about Vlaar and of the World Cup, because I know the player.

“I had the player at Feyenoord and he is a great central defender.

“Of course, he was one of the names on our list, but now we are happy to have Florin Gardos in and now nothing more to others, even Ron Vlaar.”

However, Lambert has today been quoted as saying: “I think he is disrespecting when talking about other team's players when they are still their players," he said. "I think that's wrong.

"I wouldn't mind if he picked up the phone, but you don't go public on it. That's the thing that annoyed me the most and the stance is still exactly the same with Ron."

Daily Echo:

Vlaar (bove centre) joined Villa in a £3m move from Feyenoord in 2012 and helped them to a 1-0 opening-day win at Stoke in the Premier League on Saturday.

And Lambert insisted the 29-year-old's performance proved he was not distracted by speculation over his future.

"I don't have a problem. You saw Ron play on Saturday, he was fantastic for us so I don't think anything like that is preying on his mind at all," said the Scot.

"I just thought it was the wrong thing to have done."