Lambert: 'We're ready to go'
Chris Lakey Paul Lambert says the Canaries are in perfect nick for the start of their Championship campaign in four days' time. City completed their campaign with a 4-2 home defeat by Everton in the final friendly of the season - and Lambert said he wasn't concerned at the way City gifted the visitors two of their goals.
Paul Lambert says the Canaries are in perfect nick for the start of their Championship campaign in four days' time.
City completed their campaign with a 4-2 home defeat by Everton in the final friendly of the season - and Lambert said he wasn't concerned at the way City gifted the visitors two of their goals.
The first came after just six minutes, when keeper John Ruddy allowed a Tim Cahill shot from six yards to slip through his hands - embarrassing enough any time, but even more so against the club you left just a few weeks ago.
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“If you're going to do it you might as well do it here, rather than Friday,” said Lambert.
Cahill's second was courtesy of errors by Elliott Ward and Michael Nelson, but asked if he was concerned about that or the defeat, Lambert's response was clear: “No - not the way we're playing.”
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Perhaps the manner of defeat was the mitigating factor, with City impressing against a side that has played top-flight football for the past 107 seasons.
“Sometimes you have to hold your hands up - you get beat by a team that is a level above us and a top-half Premiership side, been in Europe and all those sort of things,” he said.
“I thought it was a good game again - against a really top, top side. I thought we played really well and looked threatening, which is pleasing. The first two goals, you can't legislate for them, but that's football.
“I thought we were excellent as in going forward and manoeuvring the football, which I thought was great. I am more than happy.
“It will be a totally different atmosphere from today to next Friday - we will be ready. I'm delighted with them. We are definitely a threat going forward that's for sure.”
City peppered the Everton goal in the first 45 minutes, but keeper Tim Howard was rarely worried, with Simeon Jackson perhaps too anxious to find his scoring touch, although Lambert defended the striker's right to have a go.
“I am all for people taking a chance,” he said. “Where you do criticise is if they don't take responsibility amongst themselves, but I'm delighted with him and delighted with him and Chris Martin, the way they are linking up.
“They look really threatening, so more than happy.”
Then you can add Grant Holt's return into the mix, the City skipper coming on with 18 minutes remaining.
“He came on and he had about three chances,” said Lambert. “He might lack a bit of finesse, but he has got a terrific desire to score a goal and that's why he is an important player for us.
“He has got a great desire to get in the box and he's a huge player, so it was great to have him back.
“I think when you play with players like that besides you it tends to make you think that you've got to go and do it yourself. I am delighted and I think we are more than ready for Friday.
“You can never promise anything in football or guarantee it, but we will be more than ready for the game.”
City's goals came from two new boys, Andrew Crofts and Andrew Surman - the first a header, the second a sublime piece of skill that made Surman such a major summer capture.
“He's a terrific footballer,” said Lambert. “He is only a young lad still and we need to kickstart his career. He has come in and you can tell he is a terrific footballer and hopefully he will do great for us.
“I think he is getting better with every game, and Crofts today, I thought was absolutely terrific.”
With Holt returning, Lambert has close to his full side available, although Zak Whitbread was again a notable absentee.
“I'm not overly concerned,” said Lambert. “He has a slight thing on his calf at the minute which we are trying to clear up. It doesn't matter because I have great faith in them that they can do the job.
“Korey Smith (shin) is fine, he will train next week, Steve Smith (ankle) is obviously longer term so more or less everybody is fit.”
The forgotten man is perhaps Luke Daley, whose last first-team appearance for City was at Oldham last December.
“Luke still has that same problem with his thigh from last season,” said Lambert. “It's a strange one. He has tests on Monday and hopefully if he comes through that he will be ready to go - he's not too far.”
Lambert looks unlikely to be adding to his squad before the end of the month and played down reports that Greek international striker Angelos Charisteas had been on trial at Carrow Road.
“I have never heard of him,” Lambert insisted. “I don't know where the rumours come from, honestly I don't. I have never heard of him.
“We can't go and spend money we don't have. I'm delighted with the group I have got. You can see the way we play the game and I am pretty sure we will be ready.”
So if Norwich are ready, what about Everton, who made it five pre-season wins on the trot?
“Brilliant - they are a top side, there is no two ways about it,” said Lambert. “David Moyes has done great - better than great actually.
“It has been a phenomenal thing he has done there. He's been there eight or nine years whatever the case might be and in my view when you look at them, they are easily in the top half of that Premiership.”