Lambert - It’s about split-second decisions at Premier League level
Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has spoken of the split-second decisions that could help make or break his team’s Premier League season.
While TV pundits and commentators often have hours in which to re-run and analyse key incidents in games, players have no such luxury in situations that require spur-of-the-moment judgment.
With the instant thinking football demands, Lambert admitted there was little that could be done from the touchline or the dug-out once the whistle blew.
“When a player goes over that white line he’s got to make decisions for himself,” he said.
“A player doesn’t have time – he makes decisions in a split second. You have a millisecond to think about it.
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“The game is all about decision-making and the better players will make the right ones most of the time.”
Lambert was speaking at the latest fans’ forum at Carrow Road, where he was asked how he felt about his team’s performance being dissected in minute detail each week by former stars for the benefit of millions of viewers on Match of the Day.
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“I understand what they are saying because they have played at a really top level,” he said.
“Alan Hansen certainly knows what he’s talking about from playing at the highest level. When you become a manager it’s a little bit different. Your job depends on your tactics working or not.
“It’s easy, I think, to sit there with a pen and notebook and tell somebody what’s what.
“It’s not just as easy as that when you are standing in a technical area wondering if what you have worked on is going to work.”
Whether a manager or coach’s game plan works depends, of course, on how well his players carry out his instructions.
Lambert’s comments came before Saturday’s 3-2 defeat at Aston Villa, where one false move led to Villa’s second goal, Gabriel Agbonlahor intercepting defender Leon Barnett’s attempted backpass and beating goalkeeper John Ruddy.
Asked about the incident after the game, Lambert said: “You’ve got to put it into Row Z. There is no grey area then, just kick it in the stand.”
The goal was reminiscent of Chelsea’s third in the 3-1 victory over City at Stamford Bridge in August, when defender Ritchie de Laet attempted to find substitute goalkeeper Declan Rudd by turning the ball into his own penalty area, but Juan Mata intercepted to score.