Paul Lambert: Premier League new boys still have much to prove
This season’s Premier League new boys have taken the top flight by storm – but Paul Lambert believes fans at all three clubs should not get ahead of themselves.
It is a decade since the second tier’s promoted trio all survived their first season with the big boys, yet 10 games in and Norwich, Swansea and Queen Park Rangers sit midtable with a decent tally of wins and points to their name.
Last season Newcastle and West Brom booked survival with plenty to spare, while Blackpool only perished on the final day – and there has been plenty so far to suggest this term’s trio can go one better.
However, Canaries boss Lambert does not believe it is becoming any easier for Championship sides to make the jump to the Premier League.
“Every game we go into people will wonder how we are going to do, but we have earned the right; we are battling ever so hard to get as many points as we can,” said Lambert.
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“Swansea are good as well and QPR have done really well, so I think the three promoted sides coming up have done exceptionally well.
“But there are only 10 games gone and everyone’s new to it. It is fresh and it is really early. Every game is a challenge.
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“It’s good – and it’s normal that you feel good when you have something new. It’s when you are in it for a few years, that’s when you have to sustain it.
“But it’s new at the minute for us and there is no fear factor there, and the expectancy level is really high here because of the crowd – the lads have lived with that for a few years.
“As I said on Friday, you look at Wolves. What Mick McCarthy has done for them is extraordinary – and then the reaction of their fans after being in the league for three years. It’s not great to hear it but when you get a big fan base that can happen.
“But you’ve also got to remember where we were two years ago.”
One way the Canaries will hope to insulate their progress this season will be some useful work in the transfer market come January.
The City board has already pledged funds for “one to three” new signings when the window reopens at the turn of the year and Lambert has acknowledge work has already begun on who to bring in.
The Canaries manager has kept his player recruitment to young, British and hungry in recent times, but has hinted he may start to cast his net a little wider as City get accustomed to their high profile surroundings.
“January has been spoken about; we might need a hand – it can give you a lift,” said Lambert. “We made a decision at the start that we would bring in lads we roughly knew, until we got a foothold and then see what happens.
“I needed lads who I knew and who knew the British game. It helps them get to know each other. If you’re a foreign lad coming into a dressing room, I know from experience it can take you a little bit to get used to a different culture and a different way.
“We have to try and be in and around it in January. If we can add to it then we will, but that’s a lot easier said than done because you tend to find prices go sky high in January. But we need a hand.”
The Canaries travel to Aston Villa on Saturday off the back of one defeat in six and a few performances in Saturday’s dramatic draw with Blackburn that will make Lambert’s selection that bit trickier – not that such problems are new for the City boss.
“Everybody is pushing every day – it’s hard to pick a side here because of what the lads are like and the relationship you have with them,” admitted Lambert.
“I try to explain to them my decision as best I can before (they knock at my door). It’s never easy because I know the situation, I’ve been in it myself where you don’t play and you’re a bit disappointed. But the lads that don’t play are every bit as important because we need the whole group going the same way.
“Listen, that’s my job. Ian (Culverhouse) and I discuss what team we’ll play and hopefully that group gets you a result.
“Going to Aston Villa next week will be another huge game but I’m sure the lads will look forward to it because of the place it is and the history it has got. But we’re a decent side ourselves.
“We go and try to win. Whether it happens or not you have to wait and see on the day, but we don’t go away to places thinking we’ll just set our stall out, ride the storm and go for a draw.”