Lambert's happy to mix and match
David Cuffley Manager Paul Lambert is ready to shake up his midfield formation to suit the occasion as Norwich City get to grips with Championship football. The recalled Andrew Crofts was given the midfield anchor role in place of David Fox as the Canaries collected their first points of the season with a 1-0 win at Scunthorpe, courtesy of skipper Grant Holt's injury-time winner.
Manager Paul Lambert is ready to shake up his midfield formation to suit the occasion as Norwich City get to grips with Championship football.
The recalled Andrew Crofts was given the midfield anchor role in place of David Fox as the Canaries collected their first points of the season with a 1-0 win at Scunthorpe, courtesy of skipper Grant Holt's injury-time winner.
The perpetual motion approach of Crofts was preferred to the subtle passing game of Fox, with the equally competitive Korey Smith retaining his place on the right side of the diamond formation after the 4-1 Carling Cup win over Gillingham.
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Lambert, inset, has a multitude of midfield options and is prepared to vary the combination if necessary.
“I just knew it was going to be a fight, a battle and it appeared to be that way,” he said. “Not many teams will come up here and beat them, because it's a small ground, they work hard and Nigel Adkins has done brilliantly with them. We just thought we had to be pretty strong.
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“I thought we deserved to win the game. We got on top of it really well against a really good side. They won't get beaten many times here. You can see why they're hard to beat on their own place, but I thought we were excellent right from the off.
“We defended strongly when we had to defend and I thought some of the attacking play was terrific. I thought Crofts was brilliant for me and I thought the whole team were excellent.”
Lambert also had praise for Wes Hoolahan and the strike pairing of Holt and Chris Martin.
“All over the pitch we were excellent. The front two lads were a handful all game, Wes does what he does best when he creates havoc at times for opposition teams,” he said, acknowledging Hoolahan's workrate in defending as well as attacking.
“I don't think people see that side of his game. He's a really fit lad, an absolutely terrific footballer going forward but also does his fair share of the defensive duties. I think in the modern day game you have to do it.”
Holt's goal, in time added on, was a powerful diving header from a cross by substitute Simon Lappin.
“It was a great cross, it really was - you put the ball in the box and Grant can get on the end of things,” said Lambert.
“You've seen all last season what he's like. He's got great desire to get into a goalscoring position. It was a terrific ball from Simon and an absolutely terrific header.”
Just seconds before that, centre-half Michael Nelson had made a superb block tackle on Jonathan Forte when Scunthorpe threatened to snatch a dramatic victory.
“I've just told him what an absolutely brilliant tackle it was and that was Michael back to his best. I thought he did massively, getting blocks in, and he and Elliott Ward get better and better.”
The City boss believes victory at Glanford Park has helped them overcome the anti-climax of a 3-2 home defeat by Watford in the opening game.
“We spoke about the Watford thing - there was too much distraction for that game,” said Lambert.
“They took a bit of stick. It was new to them. The whole game was a bizarre game, the Watford game. But I'm delighted we won and with the way we played and it was a big three points. I thought today we looked really good.”