Norwich City boss Lambert delighted to avoid banana skin
Chris Lakey SLIDESHOW: Norwich City got the first win of the season under their belts last night - but Paul Lambert admitted there was more to the victory than just a place in the second round of the Carling Cup.
Norwich City got the first win of the season under their belts last night - but Paul Lambert admitted there was more to the victory than just a place in the second round of the Carling Cup.
Two goals each for strikers Grant Holt and Chris Martin saw off Gillingham, who took a surprise early lead on a night when Lambert sent out almost all of the big guns who had struggled in the Championship defeat against Watford four days earlier.
“Any football game you play you have to try and win it and we did it. Some of our attacking play is terrific at the minute,” he said.
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“The league as everybody knows is the main one - we earned the right to play in the league. We have another hard game on Saturday but definitely this will boost everybody.
“I'm delighted to go through and there were a lot of big plusses there.”
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Lambert had been critical of his defence on Friday and sent them all out again last night.
“They were definitely a lot stronger, that's for sure,” he said. “I think there were a lot of things that went wrong on Friday night that looking back I should have stopped, but it happened and they deserved another chance to go again and I am delighted with the response.
“I was always going to change the team - not many but I was always going to change one or two. Any competition you want to try and win or try and go as far as you can and it's no different with this one.
“I'm delighted to go through.”
Andrew Surman was missing, having picked up a slight knock in training - although Lambert admitted he had already planned to play Simon Lappin on the left side of midfield.
But the big decision was to start Holt - and it paid off, with the striker on for just over an hour.
“Grant hasn't played much football, but I am sure that will do his confidence the world of good, and our football was good as well,” said Lambert.
“You have to try and get the balance right, and he feels okay. That will do him the world of good, being able to last that, plus the two terrific goals he got.
“We have hit the woodwork twice and the goalkeeper has made some great saves from Chrissy Martin. I am delighted to win the game and to get off to a win.
“They never took it lightly - it is hard because the expectancy level is always here. No disrespect to Gillingham - they can come and enjoy it; nice pitch, nice stadium, and us getting beat on Friday. They have everything going for them, nothing to lose, because everybody expects it.
“We have to go and make the running, but the crowd again were great.”
Gills boss Andy Hessenthaler was unhappy with his side's defending and believed the scoreline didn't reflect the game.
“The scoreline does flatter them a little bit, but if you are going to defend the way we defended tonight, then you are going to concede goals,” he said. “Certainly very disappointed with the way we defended, not just individually but as a group. It is easy to blame the back five, but I think they could all have done better, but there were certainly individual errors. Especially at 1-0, you have got them where you want them - we knew we could come here and make it difficult for them early on because obviously on the back of the defeat on Friday night, it was important in the first 20 minutes we don't give a sloppy goal away and give them a lift, with the fans behind them.
“Fortunately for us we got the goal and the momentum was with ourselves, so we had them where we wanted them after 20 minutes, and then we gave a silly goal away.”