Lambert can't keep lid on Korey praise

Chris Lakey Paul Lambert was left singing the praises of his team after a come-from-behind draw against morning leaders Charlton. Grant Holt, he said, was excellent and brilliant; Wes Hoolahan excellent; Darel Russell exceptional.

Chris Lakey

Paul Lambert was left singing the praises of his team after a come-from-behind draw against morning leaders Charlton.

Grant Holt, he said, was excellent and brilliant; Wes Hoolahan excellent; Darel Russell exceptional.

And Korey Smith?


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That's when Lambert's superlatives had to be selected more carefully: Smith is only 18 years old and teenagers tend to be influenced by these things, although his performances on the field suggested he is from a different batch.

Having described Smith's performance as brilliant, Lambert added a rider.

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"I'm never quite sure how far to go with praising young kids because the next thing you will see him probably driving a Mercedes, and he'll have his socks over his knees and four earrings in and a Walt Disney hat," said the City boss, before deciding he really couldn't exclude the talented young midfielder from praise.

"He has done brilliant, really, really brilliant, today.

"He's a young kid stepping up to the plate but I am asking an awful lot of him, a real awful lot of him.

"And if you have other experienced lads in he might not have got as many games, but since I've been here he's been terrific for me."

Smith could have had a goal or two, but for Charlton keeper Rob Elliot, who twice denied him in the second half.

"To be fair to their goalkeeper, he kept them in it with two saves from Korey," said the Canaries' boss.

"Korey has not really connected with them, but he's still got to make the save so the goalkeeper had a really good game."

Elliott was at the centre of the game's major controversy, when he challenged Holt in the air for Chris Martin's cross only to see the City skipper nod it past him for a last-gasp equaliser.

"I thought Grant got there," said Lambert. "Nine times out of 10 goalkeepers do get it.

"You see it a million times, the decision normally goes for the goalkeeper, but I think Grant has got there first."

Lambert may have agreed with that decision, but he was less than enamoured with Somerset Steve Tanner official for a lack of consistency at the end of the first half when he failed to take action against Charlton skipper Nicky Bailey for kicking out at Holt - having already booked Jens Berthel Askou for nothing more than a shoulder change on Jonjo Shelvey.

"All you are looking for is for him to be consistent," said Lambert.

"If he never booked Jens and never booked the lad (Bailey) there it wouldn't have bothered me. It was not a red card.

"You look for him to be consistent."

Holt was a constant thorn in the side of a team who had conceded just two goals in their previous six league and cup games.

"I thought he was a handful the whole game," said Lambert.

"He was brilliant.

"As I said, he might not be the greatest player finesse wise but I tell you what, for work rate and an ethic and for hunger and desire I'd rather have him on my side than not.

"Fantastic he was.

"Robust as anything, really, really robust, he is a handful to play against.

"I thought him and Hoolahan were excellent. Darel Russell coming back - Darel hasn't trained, hasn't really kicked a ball in earnest due to his calf, but I thought he was exceptional.

"Hoolahan coming in - absolutely top class," Lambert added.

If there was a downside for Lambert - who confirmed that central defender Michael Nelson could be missing for "a few more weeks" with a foot injury - it was the manner of Charlton's goals, the first of which came from a corner, when Deon Burton got in front of Jon Otsemobor to head home, and the second from a cross headed in by Shelvey, who also got in front of the City man.

"My pet hate is losing a goal from a corner or a free kick, because if you are a defender, you have chosen to play in that position, you stick your head on it and if you cut it open, I'll run on and stitch it myself," he said.

"I just want you to head it, so if you do that you'll be fine with me.

"The second goal was poor - we didn't stop the cross. Jon (Otsemobor) was outmuscled I think from the two of them.

"He has been done on the two headers, but in the cold light of day he's been excellent for me."

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