Paul Lambert: I’m not envious of Manchester City

Paul Lambert insisted yesterday he is not jealous of Manchester City's mega millions ahead of Norwich City's weekend's trip to the Premier League leaders.

Blues' counterpart Roberto Mancini has an array of talent at his disposal and the likes of �50m-rated outcast Carlos Tevez seemingly surplus to requirements at Eastlands.

Mancini made ten changes for the midweek Carling Cup quarter-final victory at Arsenal, but Lambert remains undaunted at the gross financial inequality across the top flight.

'Money can certainly help. Whether it buys you success I don't know,' he said. 'Sir Alex Ferguson has built probably one of the biggest clubs in the world in Manchester United, so I'm not sure money always buys success. If I had �35m to spend on a player, I would do the same.

'I would make no apology for that. They have a fabulous football club, a fabulous football manager who has seen it and done it and great players in a great stadium.

'We'd all do the same. If somebody came in here and pumped a lot of money into the club they could do what they wanted. It's their money. They can change manager, they can change the whole club. That is the nature of the game. I don't worry about other clubs and spending sprees. I never think about it. It's up to them. I can't influence anything that other people want to do. I don't lose sleep over it.'

Lambert also believes the title race is far from over despite Mancini's unbeaten side moving five points clear of city rivals United at the top last weekend.

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'There are a handful of clubs there. I don't think it is a foregone conclusion,' he said. 'Five points is easily retrievable. There is about half a dozen clubs that can stop it.

'They are a top side. It's there for all to see. Nobody has beaten them yet but we have to go there with a bit of belief. We have to try and score one more than they do – in all seriousness that's the only way to look at it. We won't be going up there thinking we are just going to be turned over. Manchester City are not just one of the best teams in England, but you look at their European form and it's exactly the same.

'You are playing another team, but they are on another level. The finance dictates that but they still have to play as a team.'

The City boss is optimistic Ritchie De Laet can shake off a back problem, although the Belgian has yet to train this week. Lambert was also undecided yesterday whether to fast-track fit-again defensive duo Zak Whitbread and Dani Ayala into his squad for the trip north.

'I think if push came to shove and I wanted to do it I don't think either would let us down,' he said. 'They are not too far away now. As I said before, they might just need one more (game) but they are doing okay after playing the other night.'

The pair both played full games in an otherwise youthful City team in the 5-1 Senior Cup win at Dereham on Tuesday.

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