Norwich City boss Paul Lambert pays tribute to Jonny Howson’s masterclass

Paul Lambert predicts today's Premier League trip to Tottenham could be one for the purists (3pm).

The Norwich boss was effusive in his praise for Jonny Howson and the rest of City's midfield after a storming fightback to earn a point against Everton at Carrow Road.

Harry Redknapp's Spurs served up a masterclass of controlled attacking possession in Norfolk prior to Christmas and with the likes of Rafael van der Vaart and Luka Modric pulling the strings, Lambert knows what lies in store this afternoon at White Hart Lane.

'It's another one we can go and relish,' he said. 'A really tough, tough game. Harry has got a brilliant side there. He is a fantastic manager and they are a club fighting for Champions League football.

'They are there on merit. Some of the players they have got are outstanding, but we'll give it a go. We will have a good crowd behind us but we'll be alright. Everton were going well and we were right in the game. We were terrific.

'I think the four in midfield for the last few weeks have been outstanding. They are very good footballers and they are young. I said to Jonny Howson after the game that is one of the best midfield performances I have seen.

'He hit a pass in that second half which (Andres) Iniesta would have been proud of. He has great ability. We have a proper player on our hands. No two ways about it.

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'He is a young lad who has been a massive player for Leeds. I thought his performance (against Everton) was one of the best I have seen for a midfielder.'

Lambert chose to dwell on the herculean efforts of his own men rather than the pivotal role of referee Andre Marriner. The City chief declined to reveal exactly what he said to Marriner as both men left the pitch at the final whistle following a series of incidents which incurred the wrath of home players and fans.

Lambert did concede he felt aggrieved at the way Everton's second goal unfolded when Steven Pienaar appeared to trap the ball on the ground seconds before Wes Hoolahan was inadvertently blocked off by the referee as the Toffees launched a decisive move down the left despatched by Nikica Jelavic.

The Croatian had earlier slotted Everton ahead before Howson's first goal for the Canaries prior to the interval following a rapier counter triggered by Adam Drury.

'Nine times out of ten I think when the ball is caught between someone's legs, they blow for a free-kick to prevent the player getting stood on,' said Lambert. 'He indicated to me after the game maybe it should have been a drop ball.

'It is all very well to say that in hindsight. It is a hard job to be a referee but I am not going to talk about that when I thought my team were excellent.

'That is as good as we have been in my time here. My team were outstanding against a brilliant side. I thought we were definitely in the game. I have nothing but praise for my team. They showed incredible character considering the calibre of the team they were up against. I thought we were relentless at times the way we played.

'We played with an enthusiasm, a hunger for the game. We had a lot of the ball. You can have all the ball you want, but if you don't put it in the net then it becomes a problem. There was an end product to our game.'

Aaron Wilbraham again proved a catalyst for change with the measured cut back for Grant Holt to draw City level for a second time after Tim Howard had saved his initial strike.

'I said last week that off the pitch Aaron Wilbraham has been vital to what has happened here,' said Lambert. 'He gets unfair criticism in certain quarters, which I think is unjust, but I thought here again he was excellent when he came on. He is a top lad.'