Paul Lambert on Norwich City’s future
Paul Lambert admitted Liverpool's dominant display was a stark reminder just how difficult it will be to establish the Canaries as a long term Premier League fixture.
City were sunk by a Uruguayan striker who cost �23m against a club who were also able to omit �35m British transfer record signing Andy Carroll as an injury precaution ahead of this week's FA Cup final.
Lambert insists Norwich City's survival – courtesy of QPR's heavy defeat yesterday at Chelsea – is not only a triumph on the pitch but in their transfer dealings, with the Canaries' policy of cherry-picking the best lower league talent paying dividends.
The City chief, however, delivered a brutally honest assessment when prompted to forecast the next stage of the club's development following a comprehensive defeat to the five-time European Cup winners.
'I don't know how far Norwich can go, I really don't. I don't know,' he said. 'What I know is in the last few years the club has had a lot of success but you're competing in a different ball game in this league, that's for sure, because the finances dictate you have to try to compete with everybody else.
'The top ones, on a given day, you can compete with them but over the course of the season you won't. That's the reality of it because we're always playing catch-up at the minute, that's the hard thing.'
The City boss also admitted he did not expect his transfer budget to be substantially bigger than last summer, when he signed eight players, two of them on loan deals.
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'Finance dictates a lot. We have to watch and see what's going to happen. Will the budget be substantially bigger? No, not really. We'll have to work with what we've got. Once the season finishes, I'll know hopefully Norwich will be safe and then we'll see.'
Lambert insists that sense of perspective is vital to try and put City's recent downturn in context.
'I'm pretty sure we were tipped to be down there because it was new for us. That is why I never got carried away,' he said. 'It is not just this year but the last few years. For a club like this to have success for the last three years shows you have high the rise has been. Every game we have to be bang at it; if you're not, then things like that can happen. I never like to lose but I never get too down with a defeat just as I don't get too high with a win. Those lads have put the club where it is today. A lot of them. You pick yourself up, you go again.'
Lambert was loathe to accept the easy excuse that his men's exertions have taken their toll with the finishing straight in sight after Liverpool bossed this contest for long spells.
'I'm not so sure because we have tried to use as many players as we can,' he said. 'It has been a real hard, hard season. We're sitting in a really good position. The objective was to stay in the league.
'Everybody had us getting relegated and we have surpassed anything that we achieved in the past two years at this football club. We just need to go again and get over the line. It has been a tough season for us. Everybody is new to it, the tempo of the game is a lot quicker. The calibre of player is extremely high and you have to combat that and adapt to it.
'Even the teams at the bottom are very, very good and you need to play well to win games. We have done that more than not.'