Norwich City boss Lambert plays it cool over spot of bother

AUDIO: Paul Lambert refused to point an accusing finger at Wes Hoolahan after his penalty miss against Preston – but left anyone listening that there is little doubt the midfielder will never attempt anything like it during the Scotsman's tenure at Carrow Road.

'Not on my watch', was the clear message, after Hoolahan tried a chip straight down the middle from 12 yards, only to hit the ball so weakly that keeper Iain Turner had time to readjust and catch the ball.

'While I'm at this club I don't think he will do it again,' said Lambert.

'I don't think you need to be Einstein to say he isn't going to do that again.

'It's something he chose to do in that given moment. There have been games where he has unlocked people and unlocked defences more often than not – everybody knows the feeling of what happened, in the dressing room and that will stay there.

'I've not been involved in a team where I have ever seen that before. I've seen that getting done, I've seen them missed and seen them scored, but the way he plays the game you give him the freedom to try and make things happen when the game is in full flow – but it's a penalty situation and it is up to Wes or whoever how they want to hit that penalty and I can't physically go up there and hit it myself.

'You have got to trust your player that he is going to try his best to score.

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'I'm sure when he gets the next one he won't do it again.'

'You buy your ticket, really, and take the gamble. He was confident enough to take the penalty. When they go in it looks great, when they don't it can come back and bite you. Wes, in certain games, for me has been brilliant for us so I am not about to stand here and publicly criticise him.

'You pick yourself up and you go again. You don't have time to feel sorry for yourself. You have to go again.'

With the scoreline level it was the perfect chance to claim three points against the bottom side, but City were fortunate that other results generally went their way, and were aided by a helping hand from Ipswich, who were surprise 2-0 winners at Cardiff.

Nottingham Forest were beaten 1-0 at home by Hull, while Leicester and Swansea lost by the same scoreline at leaders QPR and at Scunthorpe respectively.

'I think we had a lot of chances to go and win the game, but Preston are fighting for their lives and you have got to give them credit, they have had some decent results against the teams up there, but there were a couple of results went for us,' said Lambert. 'You just don't know, a point it could be huge. There are certain games where you actually think, 'where did that result come from'. It's like Tuesday night, you come off the pitch thinking, 'how did that result happen, how did that one happen'?

'So nothing really surprises me, who plays against each other and what the results are.

'They're coming thick and fast. I never worry about what happens because I can't influence what happens elsewhere. You can only try and influence what happens at your own club. The most important thing for me is Norwich - it's not what other teams do around and about you, it's what you do.

'There's a long, long way to go. Everything is going to be exciting from now on in – but we will keep going.'

With 11 games to go the players' mental strength really comes to the fore, and Lanbert believes he has the men to cope with the run-in.

'I think we have handled it before and I think we will be ok regarding that side of it because some of the lads have been through it before, some of the lads have been in the Premiership,' he said.

'It is just how you handle it and the way you handle the crowd. This place is always full, whether you're vying to get out of the league or wherever you are, the pressure is always there.

'We have a lot of games, especially in April, where you have got to go Saturday-Tuesday for a long time. Hopefully we can stay clear of injuries and suspension and things like that.

'Don't get me wrong, it's frustrating when we don't win a game, but you can over analyse things a hell of a lot and the thing is we never got beat and sometimes when you draw and it feels like a defeat it is not a bad thing to have in your make-up because then you don't accept draws.'

Lambert finished the game with one injury concern, after Zak Whitbread failed to shake off the effects of a nasty looking fall which left him with back spasms. Whitbread was due to be assessed yesterday.