Lambert desperate to manage ‘the monster’

Paul Lambert may have another big job on his hands after insisting that City fans keep their feet on the ground.

City's impressive win at Deepdale has lifted them to fourth in the table, recalling the heady days of the 2003-04 Championship promotion campaign.

The current season is only seven games old, but again that sense of expectancy is in the air – or as Lambert might call it, 'the monster'.

Suggest that everything is going spectacularly well for the man who turned last season's fortunes around in such dramatic fashion, and he is quick to react.

The message is clear: keep your feet on the ground.

'That is one thing you need to get out of your head – we have come a long way in a short space of time,' he said. 'When you create a monster people want to feed it all the time and we are new to the league, but I thought today we were brilliant.

'Everybody expects us to turn everybody over and it's the wrong assumption. We are holding our own, no doubt about it, but people shouldn't get carried away.

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'It's a brilliant start we have had, we've done great, I have been delighted with everybody at the football club. And the fans – you look at the support we have got and it's frightening, it really is, it's absolutely brilliant support we have got, they travel up that distance and we are giving them, hopefully, something they enjoy.'

The fans will listen to what Lambert says, but ultimately it's the team's performances and results that determines their own reaction – which on Saturday was sufficient to drown out the boos that rang out for Preston boss Darren Ferguson. Both responses to the final whistle, you felt, were justified – neither manager was arguing over the validity of the outcome.

'I think it was up there with the Forest game, right from the off,' said Lambert.

'We could have been a few goals up at half-time, we hit the post and the bar, but I thought we were the better team all round. The whole game I thought we passed it better and we were more at it. Some of the football we played I thought was excellent

'I thought we deserved to win the game, we made chances, a great desire, a great hunger and enthusiasm for it, and we had an absolutely brilliant crowd at our backs. I am delighted for the lads, absolutely delighted for them.'

It was Grant Holt who was the unlucky player in the first half as he twice hit the woodwork, before finally getting the goal he deserved on 62 minutes to claim the points. It was vintage stuff from Holt, as Lambert acknowledged.

'Grant has hit the post and the bar and when he plays like that he was unplayable. A terrific goal, it really was. It's massive (for him). Since I've been at the football club Grant has been huge for us. I think the goal was great – a terrific diagonal pass and Korey (Smith) does brilliant to knock it back and it was a terrific finish. To be fair to Grant, he hit the post and hit the bar and was an absolute handful the whole game. I thought his general game, getting hold of it, taking a kick, being an absolute handful was brilliant striking play.'

There were words too for Simon Lappin, dropped for the midweek defeat at Doncaster, but back in for Anthony McNamee – and playing a stormer down the left side.

'He was terrific, he really was,' said Lambert. 'His energy levels – and no matter what you say about Simon Lappin he can get about a football pitch. He was tired the other day against Barnsley and I made the decision to play Macca, which was my prerogative, and he came back in today and I thought he was brilliant.

'It's never easy to leave somebody out, we just try and pick a team that we think might win a game, that's all I can do.'

If there was a slight concern it was that City scored only one goal –although the three points was, as Lambert said, all that mattered.

'That's always the concern, when you have that much dominance,' he said. 'I've been involved in games and seen many a game where teams have the dominance all day long and all of a sudden you get hit with a sucker punch, but we were brilliant today.'