Norwich City boss Paul Lambert on Premier League survival - ‘We will be fine’
Paul Lambert is convinced Norwich will be playing Premier League football next season after watching the Canaries recapture some of their old zest against Newcastle.
Papiss Cisse's exquisite half-volley may have condemned his side to a fourth winless top flight game in a row, but Lambert is adamant City will be fine if they maintain that level of performance.
The Canaries finished the weekend with their 14-point lead over third from bottom QPR still intact and renewed belief after a strong showing at the Sports Direct Arena.
'I thought against Manchester United we were excellent and we deserved something from the game but that today was as good as we have been in the last few weeks,' said Lambert. 'They don't need me to stand in there now and tell them what a good performance that was and that they perhaps could have got something from the game. I've always been confident that we can get the points.
'Listen, we have a right good lead and we will be fine. I have a great belief in the lads, I trust them 100pc that we can win more games than not and the way they are playing I have no fears whatsoever. We're sitting there three points behind Swansea who are sitting in eighth so we'll keep on going.'
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Lambert was still not prepared to excuse City's laxness in the build-up to Cisse's first half strike during a spell when the visitors were again indebted to John Ruddy.
'We switched off for the goal. We should have got tighter in the penalty box. When you concede a goal that early, you are never quite sure how people are going to react,' he said. 'Coming here we knew it would be tough but we had chances to score. We switched off for the goal – the lads know that – they don't need me to tell them, but I thought the way we played afterwards was very good.
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'It was probably the only moment when we switched off but we knew coming here it was going to be difficult with such a vibrant crowd. Disappointed to lose, but not disappointed with how we played. John made a couple of great saves, but like I have said before he is playing really well for us. You just come to expect that from him now.
'I think they have a top, top goalkeeper as well who had to make some saves. That shows we never just came here and sat back. We tried to win the match and on another day we might have got something.'
Tim Krul foiled Anthony Pilkington – who Lambert confirmed was substituted late on as a precautionary measure with tight hamstrings – and then Zak Whitbread in the space of a pulsating second half minute with City threatening to get back on level terms.
'I thought we came here and took the game to them and they are a team who have shown everyone this season how well they are playing,' said Lambert. 'Performance-wise was very good. I was delighted how we came back. I thought we started to dominate the ball and in possession we were excellent. The interplay from David (Fox), Andrew (Surman) and Jonny (Howson) was top, top class. I think at half-time they knew themselves, the players, that we had the belief we could go and retrieve it.
'We were disappointed to lose the goal but at the same time they showed the reaction was there to try and get something back, but as I said before, we were up against a very good side there. At 1-0 down you are always in the game and on another day we might have got one.'