Norwich City boss Lambert looks for the perfect tonic

Paul Lambert will do everything in his power to avoid that sour taste in the mouth feeling again today as the Canaries try to halt an improving Newcastle at Carrow Road.

Few gave City an earthly at Premier League powerhouses Manchester City last weekend, but Lambert's heaviest defeat of his Norwich career still took days to digest for the man at the helm.

'You don't want a feeling like that every other week. I know that,' he said. 'That is certainly the case. It hurts like anything when you get beat heavily. It doesn't matter if it is Manchester City or whoever. When you get beat heavily it is sore. MK Dons did it to us in the Carling Cup and it is sore. You just make sure you bounce back as quickly as you can and rectify it.

'I don't think you are better for the experience when you are getting smacked. You never want to just go to those places and think it's a great day out and then get hammered. I don't want that feeling of it was a great day out. I want the feeling of disappointment – whether it's five goals or three goals or whatever, the disappointment should be really sore. Will it make us better? Hopefully. We certainly don't want that again.'

Lambert and his squad may be unaccustomed to failure after unbridled success over the past two seasons – but the manager knows they are made of stern stuff.


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'They don't lack for confidence and because it is new to them they can do that,' he said. 'I don't think you can dwell on a defeat, or a draw or a win for that matter. I have always felt that. Let it go, let the game go and focus on the next one. I don't dissect it and think, 'That went wrong, that went wrong.'

'You also have to remember Manchester City's movement was incredible and they are a big powerful side. You can only keep teams like that out for so long. I think if you keep on looking for negatives it will weigh you down. I'm not one for that.

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'Yeah, I can look at it and draw my own conclusions, but we have to move on as quickly as we can and put it to bed. I think if you keep saying negative things to players they will start to believe it every single time.'

Negativity was rife in the north-east when Alan Pardew was initially appointed to replace the popular Chris Hughton last year. Pardew now arrives at Carrow Road on the cusp of an impressive first anniversary with Newcastle firmly in the ascendancy despite a recent downturn against the likes of title-challengers Manchester City and Chelsea.

'That is the same everywhere. You can never please everybody all the time and not every fan will want you at their club,' said Lambert. 'He was the one Newcastle chose and he took it on and did a brilliant job.

'I know a little bit about him from his time at Southampton. Every fan at the start might think they don't want him, but if he goes in and turns it around then you have to say he has done great. They have done fantastically well. They haven't lost many games and he has done terrifically well up there when you consider the expectancy level of that club. They started the season ever so well. They will bring a big following down themselves with the support they have got. I say it every week, but this is another tough one. Newcastle have performed really well as a team but we're at home and the onus is on us.'

Newcastle skipper Fabricio Coloccini is a major doubt after picking up a thigh injury in last weekend's home defeat to Chelsea. With Steven Taylor having undergone surgery for an Achilles injury and fellow centre back Mike Williamson targeting a return to the fold later this month against Swansea, the visitors could be forced to deploy an untried pairing at the heart of their defence. Lambert knows first-hand the pressure of coping with diminishing resources.

'Whoever they put in you can still look at the squad they have got. It's really powerful,' said Lambert. 'I know they have a couple of defensive problems. I don't know if they will be weakened. I have had the same problem myself with (Zak) Whitbread, Elliott (Ward) and (Dani) Ayala out at the same time and we had to put Russell (Martin) in there. We've coped fine with it and I'm sure Newcastle will do the same. The nature of the game is you have to expect injuries and suspensions. I'm pretty sure he'll trust the lads who he puts in to do a job for him.'

Lambert was predictably coy whether a potentially under strength United backline offered the perfect opportunity to unleash muscular front duo Grant Holt and the free-scoring Steve Morison in tandem.

'We play one way. That is to try and win,' he said. 'Every game is different, whether it is Manchester City or Newcastle. The philosophy is the same. The crowd will come and expect us to try and win the game. If the ball is in the box you are hoping your centre forward will go and put his head on it. It's not something we really work on. We do shooting or we do crossing in training and if the chance is there I expect them to score. That is no different on a Saturday. If the ball is in the box go and get on the end of it. Holty's goal at Liverpool and Morison's goals have been excellent.

'Look at where he was two years ago when he played non league for Stevenage and he is doing just as well for the national team. I'm pretty sure he is thriving on it. Confidence is one thing I think he doesn't have a problem with. I don't think he is a shy lad, put it that way.'

Ritchie De Laet again misses out with a back problem that forced him off against QPR in City's previous home league game. Whitbread was an unused substitute at the Etihad – a clear signal the American international is primed and ready if required.

'Zak has now trained for a number of weeks and he comes into my thinking,' said Lambert. 'With Ritchie we just have to give him time to get back. We just have to let it settle back down. If it settles down quickly, hopefully we'll be okay.'

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