Leeds clash is business as usual for Lambert

Paul Lambert insists it's business as usual today - against a background of two ailing footballing giants occupying the thoughts of every Norwich City supporter.

Paul Lambert insists it's business as usual today - against a background of two ailing footballing giants occupying the thoughts of every Norwich City supporter.

The visit of Leeds has been vying with speculation linking the City boss with the managerial position at Celtic for prominence, but Lambert dealt swiftly with both at his pre-match press conference yesterday.

Leeds, he said, are a massive club, Celtic brilliant - but he's not heading north any time soon.

The Yorkshire side are desperate to inch their way back to former glories, but indifferent form has seen them fall eight points behind City in the League One promotion race.

They come to Carrow Road with others snapping at their heels and knowing that defeat puts a huge dent in their hopes of automatic promotion.

More than 25,000 fans will fill every available seat to watch the top two slug it out in what is certain to be a roof-raising atmosphere, but Lambert says it's all part of the job.

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“I think this football club is big every weekend and every team we play against it's massive because of the amount of people come and watch us,” he said. “It's a big game, yes, but so is everybody else when we play them.

“I think when you are at big clubs it is a normal thing. When you are at a big club your feeling for every game is the same, but at a smaller club they tend to raise their game against bigger clubs, it always happens. But the big clubs have that every single week, and that's the difference being at this club - they have the expectancy level and the pressure every day where if you are at a smaller club they might raise their game against the bigger clubs, which is normal.”

Lambert says the atmosphere has been the same since day one - among the squad and among the supporters.

“It's just the same,” he said. “I don't see the point of changing because the lads live with the pressure every day. They have been brilliant, they've been excellent, whether it was this week or last week or any other week they have been terrific for me.

“And they are on top of their game. The crowd have been brilliant with us and they are right behind us, which is great, and I can see it when we go away from home, what they are like with us.

“And they know they are getting every bit of effort from the players. From day one since I walked in here the place has been really vibrant and really up beat - but results have done that and the lads deserve the most credit.”

It's the result that counts today, and form suggests that City have the edge. Lambert saw their 2-0 home defeat by Millwall on Monday, and while he retains respect for Simon Grayson's team, it comes with a rider.

“They are still a really good side, a really good side - a massive club, massive expectancy level as well, and the tradition and history it's got,” he said. “They are up there and still a top side, but the way we are playing, we are at home and we will go and try and win the game. We're playing well and I have got lads on top of their game, the crowd are right behind us and we will go and try and win it.”

Is it a title decider?


Lambert was more forthcoming on the link with Celtic, after they sacked manager Tony Mowbray on Thursday. Neil Lennon has taken over for the rest of the season - meaning the gossip isn't going to go away in a hurry.

But Lambert says he's happy at Carrow Road and that the speculation is not something that is on his mind.

“Hypothetical questions don't really bother me one bit,” he said.

“Celtic was brilliant when I was there, it was a terrific place to play football. There's the great pressure of it, and we won some really nice things there and we just fell short in the Uefa Cup.

“I had great times up there, I really did. I loved it, a brilliant football club, and the pressure of it is huge.

“They've changed their manager and Lenny is in and I hope Lenny goes and does great because Lenny's a good friend and hopefully he does great there.

“But regarding myself, I'm really happy here, as I said from day one. I love it here and my main job is to get this team out of this league.”