Norwich City boss Paul Lambert was a winner to the end, says Michael Nelson
Former City defender Michael Nelson said Paul Lambert's winning mentality shone through even in last week's testimonial – and he did not sense it would be his final game in charge at Carrow Road.
The Kilmarnock centre-half returned to Norwich to play in Adam Drury's testimonial against Celtic 10 days ago, and said his former boss was as determined as ever to win, as City did, 2-0.
'He was pretty much his usual self, right down to how he approached the game,' said Nelson. 'He left us under no illusions that he wanted to win the game – he made that very clear before we started, what was required.'
Nelson said he did not get the sense that the game was a farewell occasion for Lambert.
'I had a bit of a chat with him afterwards and everything was fine. I thoroughly enjoyed the evening,' he said.
'I don't know what's happened but he's done a fantastic job since he's been at Norwich.
'People will obviously be upset if he does leave, but it's the nature of the game if someone is successful that he might be going to move on.
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'You can't really win. If you don't do a good job, the chances are you'll get criticised and maybe get the sack, but if you do well and then decide to leave you'll get some stick, too.'
Nelson enjoyed some of his best career moments to date under Lambert at Norwich.
'The highlights for me were when we got promoted at Charlton to get into the Championship and then clinched the title the following week,' he said.
Former City star Darren Huckerby, who also appeared in Drury's testimonial, said it was inevitable that other clubs would be interested in Lambert.
'It's sad it has ended this way but I think we have got to look at the last three years, where we have come from and where we are now, and say thank you to Paul Lambert,' he said.
'He was obviously going to be well sought-after . . . but the Norwich board don't want to lose him.
'Villa is a massive club and they have got potential to go pretty high up in the league. If they get (Darren) Bent back, (Richard) Dunne in there and spend a few quid and they have got a chance to move a lot of places up the league.
'But Norwich is a massive club as well and Norwich fans will be very disappointed if he does leave.
'He's been linked to every job when it's come up and it looked like eventually with his record and what he has done at Norwich that somebody would poach him, but that's the way football is. It has always been the same. Managers do well and move on.'
Huckerby told Talksport: 'You don't know what's gone on behind the scenes. It's just a shame with what's happened over the last two or three years.
'But there will be lots of candidates for the Norwich job if it does come up because we've got a massive fan base. It's a good time to be Norwich City manager.'