Lambert: Tough, but mistakes played part
Paul Lambert was swift to put the heaviest league defeat of his Norwich managerial career in its proper context.
The City boss knows his club's sole priority is to ensure they return to the magnificent surroundings of the Etihad Stadium next season in the Premier League. Lambert admitted his men only threatened Joe Hart's goal sporadically before succumbing to the impressive leaders – just like the previous six league visitors.
'I'll bet you any money not many teams will come here and take them on but the reality for us is we try and stay in the league,' said Lambert. 'We have come a long way in this period but you are pitting your wits against some of the best players in the world. The players kept going and that is one thing you can say about them. They try everything.
'I've always said it whether you win, lose or draw you move on as quickly as you possibly can. It's a hard, hard job to come up here.
'There'll be better teams than us, established Premier League teams, come here and Manchester City will give them a hard time as well. We are new to it but we gave everything.'
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Lambert was left to rue fresh defensive lapses after a brave containment job had frustrated the rampant hosts for the opening 30 minutes.
The Canaries' chief was less than impressed with Norwich's role in the leaders' first two goals – Sergio Aguero conjuring a piece of magic surrounded by a posse of Norwich defenders before John Ruddy palmed Samir Nasri's free-kick inside his own post. Lambert, however, remained true to his usual protective post-match policy – any words of admonishment will be dispensed 'in house' after the dust has settled on the weekend's action.
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'They are a top, top side. They really are. The movement is brilliant, it is first class but you don't help yourself when you concede the goals we did,' he said.
'When we got punished, we were punished heavily. There was some slack defending on our part but when you come up against those type of players they can really hurt you. The first goal was poor and I thought the second one should never have went that distance.
'I won't blame individuals, people should know that with me, but I'll have a look at it. We win together and we lose together. Benno (Elliott Bennett) had a great chance to make it 1-1.
'If we take that, and I'm not going to say we are going to win it from that point, at least it gives you a wee little bit of belief but the second goal has travelled an awfully long way. You know when you attack them you have to keep the back door shut or they will punish you.'
Lambert opted to re-deploy Bradley Johnson in a screening role right in front of Norwich's back four in a bid to nullify the hosts' fluid attacking style.
'I think John had one save to make before they scored so we had done that defensive part really well,' he said. 'I think the problem you have is you go and play them at their own game they will pick you off all over the place because they are that good.
'You can be four or five down in the first half, which they can easily do. That was my decision and the gameplan worked to an extent but the second goal was really poor and put us on the back foot.
'They have big players and big players are capable of delivering in the big moments and Manchester City have that in abundance.
'The disappointing thing was at 3-1, that was respectable and you think we have done okay, but when the last two go in for people who weren't at the game you would think it was an absolute mauling.
'Wes (Hoolahan) tries to play the ball out and you don't do that and he knows that. We had to perform out of our skin to get anything here.'