Norwich City boss Lambert rules out Premier League hangover against Bolton
Something old, something new, something borrowed – but not something blue.
Just another quiet week in the life of Paul Lambert. Norwich City manager. One that started with Rangers' counterpart Ally McCoist getting short shrift in his pursuit of Grant Holt; moved swiftly within a matter of hours to attracting fresh blood in the shape of Ryan Bennett's late night arrival from Peterborough.
Skipped on through a couple of loan extensions for two of his own, before a midweek reunion with Martin O'Neill during a fruitless long haul to Sunderland. And ending, the Scot will hope, with a display against Bolton today in the Premier League that underlines that north-east jaunt was a mere blip.
'There is one thing I do know and that is we will come out of the blocks,' said Lambert. 'We'll get the crowd behind us and if somebody said you'd go on a run of one defeat in nine again then I'd certainly take it. Honestly, I'm not going to let one defeat weigh me down. I never have done. We hadn't been beaten since Tottenham back in December. Listen, it's gone. There is no point in worrying about it. I don't lose sleep over it. Yeah, you mull over it when the game is finished and you are back down the road but its like a win, I let it go as quick as anything and the lads will come out as strong as anything.
'We're at home and we'll give it a go. Oweny (Owen Coyle) has got them going. They are a really good side and tough to play against but I've never once had a problem tying to lift them again.
'I think they are hurt, everybody is hurting because we just never turned up on that night. We never gave them a game - which is so unlike us.'
Lambert demands an honesty from his players reflected in his own personality. The message delivered yesterday was loud and clear. Forget trying to look for excuses.
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'I thought Wednesday night we just never got going,' he said. 'What I mean by not turning up, is we just couldn't get out of our stride. It's not like us over the last few years because we have been competitive. We never hurt them at all and they ran out comfortable winners. They deserved to beat us. If you try looking for things then you will come up with about nine million excuses. The bottom line is we got done. We never performed. Nothing to do with fatigue; nothing to do with changing the line up.
'We just got beat on the night and we have a chance to rectify it. I don't have to do a major overhaul or anything like that. I have no worries whatsoever about the lads going again. They know themselves they let everybody down and ourselves down. It was a game we thought we could go up there and win but fair play to Sunderland they were much better than us on that night. We pick ourselves up and go again.'
Lambert's own pre-match routine during the week was disrupted by the transfer tale of the striker going nowhere and the young defender going places. First the unfolding saga surrounding Rangers' pursuit of Holt.
'I spoke to Ally mid-afternoon (Tuesday) and he told me what he was going to do,' said Lambert. 'In terms of the finances what Rangers offered was nowhere near. I'm pretty sure it is frustrating for Ally McCoist trying to do something. I don't know what the ins and outs are up there, but I can see from afar that the finances are not great, allegedly, at the minute.
'Everyone wants to play in the Premier League and Grant, I'm sure, is no different. He was fine. I told him about it. He never indicated to me one bit that he wanted to go and talk to them. If he had said that, then it becomes a different issue. He said he had no problem whatsoever. There was no transfer request, which I didn't expect to be honest, because of what he has done for this football club and for me has been huge. The name Rangers would attract a lot of players but I'm not sure the football is as strong as in years gone by. It took him all this time to get to this level and he is performing in the Premier League now.'
Within hours, Lambert and the club's hierarchy had set their sights on snaring Bennett, who was reportedly heading across the Welsh border to discuss a potential move to Premier League rivals Swansea.
'I think I met Ryan something like 8:30pm and it went from there,' he said. 'You are never quite sure when other teams get involved but I just think he will be a big asset to us when he does join. He is a really ambitious lad who wants to do well. You would probably have to ask the lad himself (why he chose us). I'm delighted he is here. Hopefully he fits in with the group.
'I spoke to him that night, that was the first time I had the chance to speak to him, and I told him to just come and join us here and hopefully relish the challenge in front of him but I think he is going to have a big career. He knows the game and you can see from just talking to him that he really wants to do well.'
Lambert confirmed Peterborough were desperate to keep the 21-year-old centre back for the rest of the season. A one-month loan deal was the compromise solution.
'I had a chat with Darren (Ferguson) and I could understand his point of view with us taking him virtually at the last minute and they didn't have an opportunity to bring in an alternative,' he said. 'They wanted him for the rest of the season, but from my point of view if you bring in a lad you want him here so we had to work out some sort of compromise for everybody. Even though it's for long term we will look for him to make an impact as soon as he comes through the door. It is entirely in his own hands now.'
Lambert reported no fresh injury concerns from City's midweek league defeat at Sunderland. Defender Marc Tierney will again miss out after suffering a reaction to his recent groin injury. Fellow full-back Russell Martin is in line for his 100th Norwich appearance.
'His contribution has been mammoth,' said Lambert. 'I think he has a lot of doubters in his career and people who thought he wasn't good enough but you have to give a guy a chance and he has been pretty much an ever present for me.'