Norwich City boss Paul Lambert praises assistant Ian Culverhouse

Paul Lambert has hailed the impact of Norwich City assistant boss Ian Culverhouse in equipping the Canaries for a successful crack at the Premier League.

Culverhouse, along with head of football operations Gary Karsa, has been by Lambert's side every step of the way since the trio first worked together at Wycombe in 2007.

Lambert has praised Culverhouse's ability to unearth fresh talent in the past, and the former City defender's tactical nous is also helping Norwich compete in the top flight.

'No doubt, Ian Culverhouse has been fantastic,' said Lambert. 'The lads like the training and the way they get treated and if you can do that and then take them to the match then they are the ones who go and play it for you.

'I think the West Brom game was a great example of that because we knew the way they played and the counter-attack for the first goal was excellent. I think with the quality of the coaching they get, Ian has been equally as important as anybody else who has ever played under me.

'You try to get inside players' heads, but once the lads cross that white line they have to want to do it for themselves.

'You just try and let them go and enjoy their football and play without any fear. I think they've been brilliant but they've got the ability to go and do it. Our job is to keep them ticking over and if we do that, hopefully, their careers will be huge.'

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City's willingness to change personnel and formation was clearly evident again in Saturday's goalless draw against Champions League-chasing Chelsea. Wes Hoolahan was sacrificed along with the midfield diamond in a bid to compete with the Blues at Carrow Road.

'I don't set up to throw people,' said Lambert. 'You couldn't set out against the top teams the way we have done it before, because you'll get beat and eaten alive. You're out of the game before you know it.

'It's okay saying we'll be gung ho but you have to use your brains because they will pick you off. The good thing about here is whatever system we pick, they adapt, whether 4-4-2 or the diamond so it is really low maintenance and they have been like that since I have been here.'

Lambert's move for Leeds captain Jonny Howson is poised to bolster his midfield even further.

Ritchie De Laet's early return to Manchester United has opened up the potential to attract another loan recruit, but Lambert knows he must play a waiting game with just over a week left of the January window.

'If something comes up that I think is worthwhile then I will certainly look at it,' he said.

'They have got to get in the side. If the boot was on the other foot and somebody came to myself then I am pretty sure I wouldn't let them out – maybe one or two of the younger ones, but not the ones round about me in the group.'