Lambert - We can take the pressure
Norwich boss Paul Lambert is confident his men can handle the Championship mind games ahead of tonight’s latest home test against Millwall.
The Canaries moved into an automatic promotion spot with a battling draw at Crystal Palace but head a pack of five clubs separated by only three points as the race begins to hot up.
City return to Carrow Road after unbeaten trips to Sheffield United and Selhurst Park and Lambert insists his men will not be found wanting on home turf.
He said: “If you are mentally strong then football is a breeze and I’m fortunate that I have a group of top lads. Look at Crofty (Andrew Crofts) for instance and his career. He was released from Gillingham and then goes to Brighton where they were playing at that athletics stadium and you take him from that environment and put him into this environment. I knew he would handle it because he is mentally strong –even though he probably hadn’t played in front of that size of crowd before.
“Mentally, I think he is a really, really strong lad, and not just in his football, but in life. Leon (Barnett) could handle it, no problem, because he was at West Brom, Wardy (Elliott Ward) the same, Zak (Whitbread) the same being at Liverpool. Those lads can definitely handle it mentally. You can bring a great player into a football club with a load of fans and they suddenly capitulate if they come under criticism or if they don’t perform.”
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Lambert believes City’s fellow promoted sides Millwall and Leeds have also earned their top eight billing on merit.
He said: “It’s brilliant, it’s great. I’m not surprised because I knew what it was like playing against them. Everybody has adapted very well. I just think the way the three of us have done it and what we have done has been great. I think you have got to have that momentum and you have to be under pressure as a footballer. When you have that mentality of winning two and drawing four and then getting beat and then winning two and drawing one – well I just think you play football for the sake of it if you have that mentality. If you are under severe pressure every time to win and win and win, it becomes a thing in your head. You carry that fear of losing and it drives you on.”
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Lambert issued a fresh reality check on the eve of the Lions’ visit after guiding his men into the top two at the weekend. He said: “To sit where we are, all of a sudden it turns really, really quickly and you forget what happened before. That is why you should never take anything for ganted in football.”
Defender Adam Drury is Lambert’s main injury doubt after limping out of the Palace draw with a thigh problem. Recent Colchester recruit Marc Tierney is on standby for his Carrow Road home debut.