Paul Lambert wants ruthless Norwich City to tame Wolves in the Premier League
Charity begins at home as far as Paul Lambert is concerned this afternoon.
The Norwich City boss is well aware Wolves and their rookie manager Terry Connor arrive at Carrow Road desperate to avert a headlong descent towards the Championship.
The baseline figures make George Osborne's budget look positively upbeat. One point from the four matches Connor has taken charge of since Wolves dispensed with Mick McCarthy's services. No goals scored in the last three, 12 conceded. Lambert certainly empathises with his opposite number, but the Scot will demand a ruthless Premier League edge from the Canaries.
'I think their confidence might be a bit fragile since Mick left. I think that was the wrong decision to let him go,' he said. 'We have to try and keep them down there and if we keep playing as we have we will win hopefully. They wouldn't show us any sympathy, so we can't afford to show them any. We have to win. Sacking Mick was maybe wrong, because of the drive and the passion he has got for the game.
'That is taking nothing away from Terry, who was part of Mick's backroom staff, and has been thrown in and doing the best he can. It is mammoth for him. He has been thrown in at the deep end and you have to sink or swim. I still think getting rid of Mick was wrong. They made the decision and you never tell anybody how to make a decision about their own club. From a football person's point of view, I just think it was the wrong decision.'
Lambert is acutely aware parallels will be drawn between struggling Wolves and the relative Carrow Road successes of both Wigan and Blackburn on previous league trips to Norfolk this season.
'We know its going to be a really hard game and probably not too dissimilar to the Wigan game with a team fighting for their lives,' he said. 'The good thing about my team at the minute is we are playing well, so I don't have a problem about lifting them or the morale being low. They are playing really well. They are vibrant and it is a game we have to try and win. I don't think their recent record will matter. Yes, they might be low on confidence, which can certainly happen, and we have to try and capitalise on that.
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'Wigan came here and played well and I think they are probably better than where the league suggests. I definitely thought that was the case about Blackburn. I said that at the time, I thought they were a good side.'
Wigan appeared to relish the greater sense of freedom from an outing on foreign soil earlier this month. Lambert expects Connor's strugglers to similarly benefit.
'When a team is getting hurt and they are going away from home then it becomes a little bit easier for them,' he said. 'They don't have their own 30,000 fans there criticising every mistake they make. They'll come here, and I don't know how many they will bring, but Norwich will outnumber them.
'I have no doubt the Norwich crowd will come and back us to the hilt. They realise what has happened here has been incredible. Yeah, you'll get your three or four who want to moan but I think you get that anyway. They come just to get out of the house. We have to give the majority something to get behind us.'
Lambert senses Wolves' urgent need for points could serve up a fitting encore to the 2-2 draw in December's corresponding Premier League fixture at Molineux.
'We go and try to win. We certainly don't play any other way,' he said. It was perhaps too open the last 10, 15 minutes that night. I've always said if you can't win a game make sure you don't lose it. We could've lost it right at the end. After being 2-1 up with 15 minutes to go, you knew Wolves were going to throw the kitchen sink at you. The crowd driving on them as well was a major factor. If we had got the third one then I think that game would have pretty much been finished. We played really well that night. The point helped us along to the position we are in right now. Wolves might think a point is not good enough coming here and they need a right handful of wins. If that happens, then it could be an open game, but we have to hope we come out with the right result.'
Lambert yesterday baulked at suggestions City's recent flatline is par for the course following their rapid ascent to the Premier League.
'It makes me laugh from where we have came from because the players have not had that for three years,' he said. 'That can't be too bad and I won't panic. Football is like that, it can happen. Norwich is not an established Premier League side. They have only been in it for six or seven months. You have to build, on and off the pitch, and they have taken it by storm the last few years.
'This seven year plan that I keep hearing about, there is no such thing. If you are talking seven years, then I'll take seven years to get the team in the Premier League and work at that and build it. But because you then go and do it in two years, people now say we get beaten by such and such so that is not good enough. Two years ago I was being told to get this club into the top six of League One.'
Nor does Lambert buy into the notion City's impressive haul of league points so far has lulled his players into a false sense of top flight security.
'No, they know they are not safe,' he said. 'They are not like that, they are not egotistic players or anything like that. They are really top players who know it is not over. I don't need to make major changes because I know they are playing well.
'I think you need to have characters in the dressing room that want to be motivated themselves. You don't want it just to come from financial terms. You have that motivation to want to win.
'That is the main thing for me. The motivation in a footballer is really important and if they have that then they get success and everything else falls into place.'
Lambert confirmed yesterday Anthony Pilkington is available for selection after training this week following a hamstring problem at Newcastle. Defenders Dani Ayala and Marc Tierney are also back in training, but won't be considered.