Russell: Lambert inspired us to title
David Cuffley Goalscorer Darel Russell explained how Norwich City manager Paul Lambert's total belief in his players had inspired them to become League One champions.
Goalscorer Darel Russell explained how Norwich City manager Paul Lambert's total belief in his players had inspired them to become League One champions.
Russell's second-half goal set the Canaries on course for the 2-0 home victory over Gillingham that guaranteed them the title with two matches to spare.
And the long serving midfielder said Lambert's confidence in the squad, from the moment he took charge, had been one of the key factors in their success.
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He said: "I think that was the difference from a number of managers I've had.
"He actually came in and said 'You're going to win the league'. That's what he came in and said from day one.
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"I think you have other people that say we can, that's what we're aiming to do, but he came in and said ' You're going to win the league'.
"I think that terminology, that belief that he had was imparted to us and we've taken it - his belief and confidence that we could do it - and we've gone out there and managed to complete that task.
"We've had games where we've been 1-0 down at half-time and he's come in and said 'You're going to go out there and win it in the second half' and that belief and confidence, you take it on as players. It has given us strength of character and team spirit and it has helped us push on. The main aim was promotion, but certainly in my head the aim was to win the league and I think that was true of a lot of the boys.
"We set out to do that from when the gaffer first came in and we've completed our aims."
Russell broke the ice round the title champagne with his 74th-minute goal against the Gills, his shot hitting the underside of the bar and bouncing behind the line.
It was only his second goal of the season - the previous one a stoppage-time equaliser in the 1-1 draw at Gillingham, at the end of September.
"Maybe it's one of those teams you score goals against," he said. "But I'm really glad I did get a goal, especially in front of the home fans. I would have been extremely disappointed if I didn't get a goal at Carrow Road this season.
"I've been playing a little bit deeper and the chances come few and far between but it just fell to me and I just managed to catch it right and get it round the 'keeper.
"The referee seemed to take an eternity just to blow the whistle to make it official.
"But I'd seen the lino' flagging for a little while so I was pleased - fantastic, it was just nice to wrap it up and be part of it."