Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill full of praise for Norwich City’s Paul Lambert

Martin O'Neill yesterday refused to take any credit for Paul Lambert's success.

The Sunderland boss has been held up as a mentor after working with the City manager at Celtic before helping Lambert take his first steps in the coaching game.

'He was always very ambitious and has had a great time at Norwich. What he has done is fantastic,' said O'Neill. 'Paul has called once or twice, but he is his own man and able to sort things out for himself quite easily, as his record shows. He would phone occasionally, I think to see if I knew a taxi number or something or other, more than anything else.

'I've seen Norwich a couple of times this year and they have always been very impressive. They go right to the end, too. Paul has done remarkably well – his efforts at Norwich are remarkable. He took over a club who had fallen on tough times and dropped a couple of divisions. He has kept the thing going after back-to-back promotions, so much so that they remain on the crest of a wave.'

O'Neill allowed Lambert to start his coaching badges in Germany with the midfielder's playing days coming to an end at Parkhead.

'I said 'yes, absolutely, go and do it'. He went over there, did the badges and then I realised this was what he wanted to do, coaching or managing, so he stepped into it and I think he has taken to it very, well indeed, as results would suggest, and well done him,' he said.

O'Neill also played a part in Lambert's first English managerial move to Wycombe in 2006.

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'I said to the owner that I thought he might be worth having a little look at, and they did so, and he did very well indeed, ' he said.

O'Neill signed former England defender Wayne Bridge on loan yesterday to provide cover for a deepening injury crisis. The Manchester City left-back could go straight into the side this evening.

'I'm hoping that with Wayne's undoubted experience and ability he can be a big help until the end of the season,' said O'Neill. 'I'm very pleased to have him here and with the number of injuries we have sustained recently I'm sure he'll be a great help to us.'