Paul Lambert is confident Norwich City can worry Premier League champions Manchester United
Paul Lambert is urging his players to prove just how far they have come against Premier League champions Manchester United's at Carrow Road this weekend.
City slipped to a battling 2-0 defeat in October's reverse fixture at Old Trafford, but Lambert was in bullish mood at his pre-match press call as the Canaries look to prolong their impressive league start to the New Year.
'This is a fantastic game for the football club that a team of that stature is coming here in the first place to play in a competitive game,' said Lambert, on Friday morning. 'They are still one of the best teams in Europe - let alone Britain. They have a chance to win the league themselves. They have been a fantastic team for a number of years. We prepare the same way we did when we went up there a few months ago. We know what we are up against. That is not to say we can't give a good account of ourselves or try to win the game. We need the points ourselves. At the time I thought we played really, really well that day - but if you don't take your chances against a team like that then you know what is going to happen. They can create from absolutely nothing. They have some world-class players up there, no doubt. Some fabulous footballers, (Paul) Scholes, Ryan Giggs - lads who know how to win games.'
Lambert confirmed defender Zak Whitbread is back in contention to face the Red Devils after his recent hamstring injury. Dani Ayala is still ruled out and United's visit is poised to come too soon for Mark Tierney (groin) and Jonny Howson (knee). The former Leeds captain is now training with the rest of hs new team mates, but Lambert has yet to decide whether to involve Howson in next week's scheduled Reserve League fixture against Wolves.
'We've got a few knocks and niggles but we've got until Sunday. They are ones carried over from the Swansea game,' he said. 'Daniel is out but Zak has a chance. We'll just see how he is. There is every chance. He has trained so hopefully he is going to be okay. Marc is doing alright now. This one may have come a little too early for him. Jonny is the same. Hopefully he'll not be too far away. I'll see how he is doing (for next week) but he has only done this week. He probably needs a bit more time but looking at him he is looking really good to me.'