John Ruddy will bounce back from error - Norwich City boss Paul Lambert
Paul Lambert insists John Ruddy is a big enough character to bounce back from his part in Stoke's Premier League match-winner at the Britannia Stadium.
The Norwich City boss felt rightly aggrieved over the award of a contentious throw-in which led to Matthew Etherington's 72nd minute strike, but Lambert admitted the Canaries had also contributed to their own downfall.
Etherington reacted quickest to control Cameron Jerome's initial flick to veer past Elliott Ward and then rifle a ferocious shot from an acute angle through a gap left at Ruddy's near post.
'I've spoken to him and John doesn't need me to tell him. He knows, but John Ruddy has produced some unbelievable moments for us, and he will do again,' said Lambert. 'You can't be too critical of him because he has been brilliant for me.
'Our lads obviously think it is our throw and are out of position but it was a bad goal to lose. He'll know himself that maybe he shouldn't have been beaten at his near post, but he has been colossal for us. John has made big, big saves in big, big moments. He will bounce back.'
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Lambert revealed in his post-match press briefing that referee Michael Oliver had been over-ruled by his near side assistant regarding the pivotal throw-in when Elliott Bennett's sliding challenge deflected the ball against Marc Wilson.
'I think it was our throw,' said Lambert. 'The referee has actually indicated it is ours and is walking away as if it is a throw to us and waved his hand a little bit as if to say it was a Norwich throw.
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'The linesman has over-ruled him, for some reason. I think it was there for everybody to see that it was a Norwich throw. He did actually admit to me going up the tunnel that he was giving it to us, but the linesman for some reason over-ruled him.
'The players were making that point to the referee at the final whistle. You don't need to be a rocket scientist to see that, but we are not going to beat ourselves up about it. He said the linesman was in a better position, but looking back at it then the referee is equally as close. He has let the linesman change his mind.'
Lambert felt a game of fine margins was always likely to hinge on a set piece given Stoke's obvious prowess.
'It is frustrating (to lose to that) because I thought the game never had many chances, it never got going and there wasn't any fluency,' he said.
'It is a hard place to come. You have to combat that aerial threat at throw-ins and corners, which I thought the lads did really, really well.
'Stoke have done that to nearly every team that have come here. It is hard to defend against. You know what is coming in at corners and throw-ins. As I said before, one throw-in changed the game. We defended really strong, which you knew we had to coming here.
'Everybody knew it was going to be a battle. It was a hard game, the conditions made it hard and it probably had 0-0 written all over it. I just thought that decision was the wrong one.'
Stoke's ability to bridge the gap from the Football League to firmly establish themselves in the top flight has seen them offered as the perfect role model for the Canaries and promoted rivals Swansea.
Lambert believes the Potters are now reaping the rewards of backing Tony Pulis, who has built Stoke into a formidable outfit since returning to the Britannia in 2006 for his second spell at the helm.
'Stoke have done it for years in this league, they did great in Europe and they are doing great in the FA Cup,' said Lambert. 'You look at the players they have there now and that is what happens when you have been in it for a number of years.'