Team spirit is bedrock of success for Norwich City

Perhaps at some clubs, there would be an issue over who takes the penalties after what happened with Wes Hoolahan’s effort against Preston more than a week ago.

It is not uncommon at some clubs to see grown men squabbling over who gets to put the ball down and – hopefully – bury it from 12 yards.

But not at Norwich City, where almost two seasons of a winning habit have been built on an impressive team spirit.

There were no moans on the back of what happened last time out at Carrow Road. No ugly pointing fingers.

Only a friendly, pre-agreed stance between Hoolahan and skipper Grant Holt that Iain Turner’s save for North End meant that, next time, it was Holt’s turn.


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It was a clear sign of the togetherness in his squad – along with the City players using their winning goals at Leicester City in midweek to help celebrate the birth of injured centre-back Leon Barnett’s baby son.

“The team spirit since I’ve been here, not just this season but even last year, it’s huge,” said Lambert. “They’re a great bunch, they stick together no matter what, which is great.

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“I never saw them do the celebration for Leon the other night until later on. Even the injured lads – they are all in it together, they’re low maintenance and they never give me an ounce of a problem.

“As footballers and as people, they have been terrific for me.”

Not that such team spirit comes along by magic. It involves careful squad-building and maintenance – the latter Lambert learned as a player from his past masters.

“I’m not in the lads’ faces every single minute of the day,” said Lambert. “I don’t live in their pocket. They are adults, yes there are some young ones there, but I think they know where the line is drawn and I think they want to achieve something.

“I think if they heard my voice every single day then you become bored by it. You don’t need to be with them every single day, it can tick over if Ian (Culverhouse) takes them. I don’t need to be by them all the time.

“It’s just the way I do it – and so far we’ve had success and it has worked. I’ve seen it work with Martin O’Neill and I’ve seen it work with other people, that you don’t need to speak all the time.

“If they enjoy the training, which I think they do, if you can keep the spirit, keep them hungry, then they go the extra yard.

“You try and treat them right and you give a rollicking when you have to – but you also give praise when it’s there.

“Some lads need an arm round them, some need a rollicking, but I never hold any grudges or anything like that against them.

“I’ve never walked from a game here and thought we never really got going. They have given me, the club, the fans, everything they’ve had and that’s why you’re getting the rapport with the fans and players, because they can see what they’re doing.”

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