Norwich City boss Paul Lambert - The management game is tougher than ever
Paul Lambert comes face-to-face with one of the arch survivors of his profession tomorrow at the Britannia Stadium.
Stoke counterpart Tony Pulis is now the fifth longest-serving manager in the game at the end of another crazy week which brought the dismissal of Gary Megson after guiding Sheffield Wednesday to third in League One and a derby win over rivals United last weekend.
Lambert believes the recent exits of Megson and former Norwich assistant boss Lee Clark at Huddersfield underline the precarious nature of football management.
'It used to be a results-business. You get results, you stay in a job. Now you are getting sacked for anything, so it is not a results-business. It is whether your face fits or not,' said Lambert. 'You can't say Gary Megson has done a bad job at Sheffield Wednesday because they are third just a few points out of it and have beaten their local rivals. The same with Lee Clark. Nobody knows what goes on behind the scenes. It is not a results-business, or at least that is the way it seems to be going.
'When you first go in you need time because it depends on a lot of factors like how low the club has been. When I came here in that respect there was only one way Norwich could go, because it was so low. You are never quite sure how long you will get. People above make decisions, whether it is right or wrong, to stick with it, but if you are getting results you would like to think you are going to stick in it longer.'
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Pulis has turned Stoke in an established Premier League outfit and this season guided them into the knockout stages of European club competition.
'Tony Pulis has done an incredible job there,' he said. 'Being in Europe doesn't seem to have hampered them with the amount of games. They seem to have a good atmosphere up there. I have never been to Stoke so I am looking forward to going there and we will give it a go.
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'Defensively if we try to play the same way as them we could be in a bit of bother because we don't have the same size of team and we don't play the same way. We have to use our strengths to try and win. Stoke are tough to play against. Everybody knows that.'