Ruddy had nothing to prove to me, says Lambert

Paul Lambert sent John Ruddy out with a simple message ahead of his Everton homecoming.

'I said beforehand he had nothing to prove to me,' said Lambert, on the man who spent five formative years at Goodison Park interspersed with nine loan spells prior to a move to Motherwell where he came to Lambert's attention. 'It was a big game for John. I just wanted him to play his normal way and he was excellent. It was great for him to come back to the club that probably reared him as such. He had a lot of friends here probably and quite rightly so, but he has been excellent for us.

'He made some excellent saves, but I thought the whole back five threw their bodies into blocks. I've seen the goal again and I think John had it covered, the shot, until the lad has put his foot on it.

'Sometimes you need a break to go for you and they got one, but Everton played well.'

City's former Liverpool trainee Zak Whitbread also relished his Merseyside return at the Reds' traditional cross-city rivals alongside another the ever reliable Russell Martin at the heart of Norwich's central defence.

Martin made numerous timely interventions during the afternoon, but Lambert also singled out Marc Tierney's last-ditch sliding challenge in the midst of Everton's late onslaught when Denis Stracqualursi was poised to test Ruddy from barely seven yards.

'I thought Tierney's block in the box was excellent, different class,' said Lambert. 'The two centre backs were excellent and I thought Kyle (Naughton) and John the same. The back five were excellent when they had to be.

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'Of course there is a bit of disappointment (to concede near the end), but we have come to a really, really hard place and we battled really strongly. We defended strongly when we had to but we looked a threat as well. I knew it would be like that with the crowd at Everton that really drives them on. They are a team who were not that long ago in the Champions League.'

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