December 10 2013 Latest news:
Aston Villa keeper Brad Guzan takes the plaudits after denying Gary Hooper in the 88th minute of Norwich City's 1-0 Premier League defeat following a first-half penalty save. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Monday, September 23, 2013
Paul Lambert admitted the manner of his Norwich City exit will always leave a sour taste after admitting he had mixed feelings following Aston Villa’s 1-0 weekend win at Carrow Road.
Libor Kozak’s 30th minute strike helped Lambert win his third consecutive game on Norfolk soil since an acrimonious departure in the summer of 2012 that was only resolved after a protracted compensation fight between the two clubs.
“I had a great rapport here and it was soured towards the end, which it should never have been,” he said. “This is a great football club and a great fan base and you do have mixed feelings. What I think is there is always a lot of emphasis on why I left and all that sort of stuff, but that has all finished.
“I had a fantastic time here, three great years with so much success, and people can portray it how they want. The turnaround is really big. There are only a few lads still here who I worked with. Now I have to do the best I can for Aston Villa.”
Lambert hailed the Brad Guzan’s display in helping Villa earn a first clean sheet in 27 league games. The American’s agility frustrated Lambert’s former club at Carrow Road with a first half penalty stop from Robert Snodgrass topped by an acrobatic tip over to deny Gary Hooper in the final minutes. Guzan looked to be heading out of Villa Park when Lambert first arrived in the Midlands, but the 29-year-old has since emerged as one of the Premier League’s finest.
“When I first came in he was back in America so we had a chat with him and asked him to come over and he showed his commitment to do that,” said Lambert. “We had a long chat for a few hours and I told him he would get a fair crack of the whip and since he got in the team he has been excellent. He made a brilliant save on the penalty and he played a major part in the result but that is what we pay him for. That is his job. His job is to make saves but he has been like that for me for the past year.
“This is a big season for him with the World Cup and for us at his club, but he is an absolute top professional and a top man. I’ve had some great goalkeepers working for me and they have made some fantastic saves but it doesn’t surprise me when he does that. I have seen him do it in training every day and his performances every day have been to that high standard. The save from Hooper, where he tipped it over the bar, that was world-class.”