Lambert appeals for 'common sense'

Chris Lakey Norwich City will almost certainly appeal against Darel Russell's sending off today as they try to avoid losing the influential midfielder for three games.

Chris Lakey

Norwich City will almost certainly appeal against Darel Russell's sending off today as they try to avoid losing the influential midfielder for three games.

City boss Paul Lambert said he would study replays of the 63rd-minute incident, when referee Russell Booth decided that Russell's challenge on Morgan Schneiderlin was worthy of a straight red.

But his post-match comments after the defeat by Southampton suggested there were few doubt about his next move.

"I think the whole point of the matter is Darel Russell can't see the lad coming from behind him, so how the referee thinks that's a red card is absolutely bizarre," said Lambert. "I think everybody in the stadium thought that - why send him off for something that is just a woeful decision."

Lambert spoke to the Nottinghamshire official after the game, later questioning the decision to allow him to take charge of such a high-profile fixture.

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"I thought the referee was showing cards to Southampton lads that I thought were never yellow cards," said Lambert. "Sometimes you get a game that was too big for somebody and I thought that was too big for him.

"He pulled it (the red card) quicker than Paul Daniels. I have never seen a card come out of somebody's sleeve quicker than that.

"I just don't understand how we can go from Mike Dean one day to - I don't know that referee's name - another game.

"I just hope people see common sense. It's alright the referee turning round and saying, 'appeal to the FA'. He'll go away back to his work and whatever he does and not give a jot - that's the thing that annoys the living daylights out of me.

"You just hope people at the FA realise what everybody else saw, that it was never a red card in it's life."

Lambert's argument - and Russell's too - was that the player lifted his foot to knock the ball to a team-mate, didn't see Schneiderlin coming in to his right, and caught him on his chest.

"He's not even looking for the lad," said Lambert. "I just can't believe it. How he thought Darel could see what was behind him and the lad's just come in front of him. He has tried to keep the ball in play he is not even looking at the lad.

"I have asked him what he was trying to do and he was just trying to put it back to Chrissy (Martin) and he has caught the lad. It's terrible.

"It's different if he has hurt the lad - but he is not even looking at him. I will stick up for Darel all day long. I don't think it's worthy of a red, I don't even think it's worthy of a yellow - a free-kick maybe.

"It'd be different if he looked at the lad and really, really caught him flush. Then I would have held my hands up and thought, 'he deserved that'. Violent conduct? Honestly."

Russell's dismissal came with City trailing 1-0, but on the ascendancy - although Lambert offered no excuses for a below-par performance.

"We were on the ascendancy a little bit and I always think we are capable of making things happen," he said.

"I don't think we deserved to get anything from the game, but we will bounce back.

"As I said before, there are not too many times that I have said we haven't deserved to win a game but sometimes you have to hold your hands up and on this given day the better team beat us. But we will come back, we will definitely come back."

The first opportunity to right the wrongs of Saturday come tomorrow night, at home to Southend.

"The crowd will come back again and lift us again - we're still top, that's the big, big thing," said Lambert, experiencing the first home league defeat of his reign which ended the home run at 11, just one shy of a club record.

"There are loads of games to go, miles to go in the league and we are still at the top, which is great.

"It happened at Barcelona the other week and if it happened to them it can happen to anybody. It happened to Manchester United today after beating AC Milan.

"Every team in the world gets beat, every team, so I am not going to let it dampen what the lads have achieved for me."