Lambert - This point could be 'massive'
Paul Lambert believes the hard-earned point at St Mary's could be "massive" in the final reckoning. The Canaries boss saw his side come back twice for a 2-2 draw in a match he described as "brilliant".
Paul Lambert believes the hard-earned point at St Mary's could be "massive" in the final reckoning.
The Canaries boss saw his side come back twice for a 2-2 draw in a match he described as "brilliant".
"Southampton are a good side," said Lambert. "They are down there by default. So it could be a massive point. That was a brilliant game, as good as I think you will see this season. Very good."
City were a goal down at half-time after looking out of sorts, but improved after the break and after sub Stephen Hughes grabbed a second equaliser both teams went all-out for a winner.
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"I thought we started the second half really, really good," said Lambert. "Southampton had to change their system to suit us and I am absolutely delighted the way the lads played their game. All credit to them."
Wes Hoolahan got the first equaliser, tapping in the rebound after his penalty was saved by Kelvin Davis. Hoolahan departed 18 minutes before time as Lambert made a double substitution, and it paid off when Hughes netted three minutes later with virtually his first touch.
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"I just thought we needed a little bit different and Cody (McDonald) has been doing really great since he's been coming on and the way we had to change it to get a goal back," Lambert said.
"Chris Martin is always a threat. Wes has been absolutely brilliant for me since he's been back in the side and we just had to change it, and luckily it worked."
The man who did it wasn't McDonald but midfielder Hughes, a player with undoubted quality who has perhaps been unlucky not to hold down a regular first team place.
"We needed a wee bit of legs because lads have been going week in, week out and he came on and did great," said Lambert.
"He has been unfortunate - he got hurt against MK Dons and then he went away with Scotland so he's been unfortunate with that side of it and I think by Stephen's own admission he is probably not 100pc match fit at the minute, but the team's been picking itself and the way the lads have been playing they've been brilliant."
It was Chris Martin who won the penalty to help make it 1-1, and the young striker was involved in another penalty incident soon after Saints went 2-1 up when he was brought down by Neal Trotman.
"I'd like to see it again," said Lambert. "Sometimes you get them, sometimes you don't. I think it might have been a big ask to get a second one here."
It was a game which always had more goals in it, especially in the latter stages when both teams clearly went for the winner.
"Yeh - for either team," said Lambert. "I think because we were going for it, they were going for it and it was just a terrific game of football.
"It was two teams going for each other, a really open game and it could be an absolutely massive point."
Lambert made a point of heading for City's 2,200 travelling fans after the final whistle to show his appreciation.
"They were brilliant, honestly, they were absolutely terrific the following we've got and it just showed again - a long, long way to travel and they came down in their thousands," he said. "I don't think anybody, since we have been here, could fault the effort or the way we play the game, it's been absolutely brilliant - and you can see the fans' reaction.
"That's your gauge. You look at the people who come and watch us and they have been absolutely terrific for us. It's vital, because they are a major part of this football club, and our fans base is extraordinary. We fill our stadium and I am sure if you added another tier on our stadium at this minute in time you'd fill it."
For Southampton it was their third biggest home attendance of the season, and Lambert expects the side that started the season with a 10-point deduction to begin making an impact on the table.
"I don't see why not because they are a really good side," he said. "Terrific stadium, terrific place to play football and a really good side."