Lambert delighted with Norwich City’s progress
Chris Lakey Paul Lambert hailed his team's performance as the best since he arrived at Carrow Road a little over a year ago - and dropped a tantalising hint as to just how far the Canaries can go this season.
Paul Lambert hailed his team's performance as the best since he arrived at Carrow Road a little over a year ago - and dropped a tantalising hint as to just how far the Canaries can go this season.
Lambert has seen City recover from their losing start to claim two wins on the bounce and their first draw of the campaign against a side which finished third in the Championship last season and were only pipped to the big prize of a place in the top flight by surprise package Blackpool.
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“I think we are,” said Lambert. “Since the Watford game we have picked up big, big results. We are new to the league, we are not one of the favourites to go up by any stretch of the imagination, but if we can keep going the way we are going you never know - but coming here it was an absolutely huge game for us, but performance-wise we deserved to win the game.
“That was as good as anything in the time I have been here.”
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It was the quality of City's performance that has turned a few heads and left Lambert ruing the loss of another two points on top of the one that many would have accepted before kick-off.
“Yeah - but that's me being totally harsh,” he said. “I thought we were excellent. Right from the off I thought we looked great, we looked sharp - the enthusiasm for the game was brilliant and in my view we deserved to win the game.
“In the last couple of weeks we have played Swansea, who I have said before are a terrific football side and just missed out in the play-offs, and we came to a team that were in it and might possibly be up there again, so to come here and play the way we did, I thought we were absolutely brilliant.”
But while City's performance draws admiring glances, Lambert was careful not to allow anyone to jump the gun.
“We are playing really well at the minute,” he said. “The crowd is right behind us, as they have been since I came to the football club.
“Sometimes you create a monster in football - people just expect that every single week. If we lose a game or draw one they say, 'Lambert must go', so expectancy levels you don't want to get too carried away or anything like that.
“It's a hard, hard league and in the four games I have seen a major difference from League One, but I think we are here on merit and playing really well at this minute in time.
“We have come a long way in a short space of time.”
Lambert was unhappy with match official Scott Mathieson for the penalty award which gave Forest the lead, insisting Russell Martin's challenge on Paul Anderson was fair. It came five minutes after Forest claimed that Dexter Blackstock was fouled by new boy Leon Barnett.
“The first one I think was a penalty, the second one I don't think was. Two wrongs don't make a right in football.
“I definitely don't think it was a penalty. But that is not to blight the way we played, we were on top of our game.”
Chris Martin hit the woodwork twice in the early stages, while Grant Holt came close to winning it against his former club in the second half only to be denied by Lee Camp's outstretched leg.
“I thought him and Grant were excellent,” said Lambert. “The hold-up play I thought was terrific. It doesn't matter if Chris Martin is in front of goal, I always expect him to hit the target or score, and that's either foot. And he is only 21 years of age so he has a huge future, hopefully, in the game - a lot of work ahead of him, but at this minute he's done great.”
The one big selection decision of the day saw centre-half Jens Berthel Askou dropped to the bench for new loan signing Leon Barnett.
“I just have to pick a team I think will win a game,” said Lambert. “Jens has done great for me the times he has played, but I can't hold sentimental value to picking a side. Leon Barnett came in on Thursday and him and Wardy (Elliott Ward) were outstanding. Russell (Martin) and Adam (Drury) have been with me for a year and they are as consistent as the day is long and John Ruddy again, every given game he has been great for us.
“I thought Leon was outstanding.”
As Lambert pointed out, it's a far cry from a year ago.
“This time last year we were sitting languishing in League One, so when you look at it like that it's been a monumental turnaorund,” he said. “You can ask every one of our fans that came to the game - and they were brilliant, incredible again.”