Crofts is happy to learn from Lambert
Focus Images 2011
Norwich City midfielder Andrew Crofts hailed the Paul Lambert factor after his Barnsley wonder strike helped seal another Championship away win.
The Welshman’s Oakwell brace edged him closer to his best-ever league goals tally for a season and Crofts attributes part of that success to working under two modern-day former midfield greats.
“I think I got seven at Brighton last year and nine the season before,” said Crofts, who worked with ex-Chelsea midfielder Gus Poyet on the south coast prior to his Norwich switch. “I’ve got eight in the league now so that is not too bad. That is my joint best in the league, but I’ve always said the goals are a bonus. Whoever scores or sets them up it doesn’t matter.
“The main thing is getting three points on the board. I enjoy the role I play. With Foxy (David Fox) in there he just sits in and gets on the ball. He’s great to play with and the manager gives me that licence to get forward. He is brilliant to work under and I have loved it since the minute I signed. Everyone knows what a great player he was as a central midfielder. All I can do is learn as much as I can but he is a great manager. Gus Poyet was the same as the gaffer. Both out-and-out winners.”
Crofts headed Lambert’s men in front at Oakwell before an instinctive volley evoked memories of the late Justin Fashanu’s 1980 goal-of-the-season against Liverpool.
The 26-year-old downplayed his starring role after a first half brace that injected fresh impetus into City’s promotion push following recent draws against Leeds and Doncaster.
“I don’t know if I have scored a better one to be fair,” he said. “I have scored a few decent ones in my time. I’d have to have a look on the telly again but, yeah, that is up there and it was great to see it go in.
“The first one was a great ball in from Marc Tierney and I just had to get a head on it. Second one, Wes (Hoolahan) has spotted me and whipped it in. I just took a touch and swivelled, caught it well and was over-the-moon to see it go in. The first touch I had the ball sat up and kind of took it around the corner and I thought I could have a swivel on my left.
“Luckily I caught it sweetly. Buzzing with the goals – but like I said before the three points is the most important thing.”
Crofts labelled City’s success in South Yorkshire as a total team effort.
“I thought everyone was brilliant,” he said. “Surs (Andrew Surman) was starting his first game for a long while, the lads at the back were brilliant and Wes caused trouble up front. Wes is a great player. You can go on and on. It’s a pleasure playing with the boys.
“We have got a great mentality, I have said that all along, and great belief. It continues the run now. We’ve only lost one in I don’t know how many games and we just want to keep that going. Going 2-0 up in the first half was good and we kept the ball really well. We had a few chances to get the third and maybe the fourth. Barnsley have a great record here. It’s a tough place to come but I thought we controlled it well.”