Norwich City boss happy to keep Sunderland guessing
Paul Lambert is ready to unleash his wide boys again on Sunderland in Monday's televised Premier League clash at Carrow Road.
Elliott Bennett and Anthony Pilkington played key roles in a new look formation supporting lone frontman Steve Morison during last weekend's maiden league victory at Bolton. Lambert made six changes to his starting line up against the Trotters – but believes the same formation could work on home turf.
'It's not a defensive system because you've got two wide lads who are really quick and the creative one in behind him,' he said.
'We knew we had to go to Bolton and try to win. Pilkington and Bennett give you that directness with their speed and their ability and Wes (Hoolahan) is really creative and I thought Morison was excellent up there.
'You don't know what to expect from teams (in this league) and for how hard you work to get a win, that can easily get blown out of the water the next week because you're up against a totally different animal in certain teams and different players. You don't take anything for granted in this league.'
Which is Lambert code for another round of guessing games before he declares his hand against the Black Cats.
'The lads who I pick, I trust them,' he said. 'I don't think anybody's inferior to any other person. I just think whatever team I pick will do their best to try to win and the lads, I thought, were excellent last week.
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'I thought they deserved to win the game, but I've been more than happy with how we're playing.
'I never have that worry that they won't give me everything they've got. That's one thing I've always felt here.
'I've never thought they've not been at it, apart from the MK Dons game, but one game in two and a bit years is exceptional. The way they've been playing, they've been excellent.'
City's red letter win at Bolton only confirmed what Lambert knew – the Canaries can cut it in the Premier League.
'I'm delighted with the lads, delighted with the football club, the way it's gone,' he said. 'I'm pretty sure the win last week will have heightened that belief, but right from the off against Wigan I thought they played well and against Bolton they were excellent.
'We have to try to keep the same level of performance that we've been showing of late and if we do that, hopefully we'll win the game.
'We're at home, the onus is on us. Sunderland got a terrific win last week and it's going to be really, really tough but we're certainly playing well enough.'
Defender Zak Whitbread is again ruled out with the hamstring problem suffered against Chelsea last month. The American could return to training next week ahead of the trip to champions Man United.
Lambert has no fresh injury concerns aside from longer term absentees Elliott Ward (knee) and Dani Ayala (knee).
'Zak is not too far away,' said Lambert. 'Hopefully he will train next week. Wardy is doing really, really fine. Daniel is a bit away at present. Zak is probably the closest one to coming back. He'll train next week at some point.
'He has been doing work with the physios and the fitness lads here and if he is okay we'll see how he does.'