Celtic boss Neil Lennon remains coy about his chances of taking over at Norwich City
13:28 07 April 2014
Celtic manager Neil Lennon did little to distance himself from potentially becoming the new permanent manager of Norwich City on national television last night.
Profile - Neil Lennon
Playing Career: Combative midfielder, primarily for Crewe Alexandra, Leicester City and Celtic
International career: Northern Ireland (40 caps, two goals)
Honours: League Cup x2 (1997 and 2000), Scottish Premier League x5 (2001, 02, 04, 06, 07), Scottish Cup x4 (2001, 04, 05, 07), Scottish League Cup x2 (2001, 06)
Managerial career: Celtic (since 2010)
Honours: Scottish Premier League x3 (2012, 13, 14), Scottish Cup x2 (2011, 13)
The former Northern Ireland international midfielder was one of the guest pundits on Match of the Day Two, alongside former West Ham and Celtic striker John Hartson, who had a brief loan spell at Carrow Road at the end of his career.
The 42-year-old remained coy when host Mark Chapman suggested he was one of the men being suggested as a possible option for the Canaries in the summer, if Neil Adams can help them survive after Chris Hughton and his coaching staff were fired last night.
“I think they may have somebody lined up already,” Lennon said. “I don’t think they are going to take a scattergun (approach) to say ‘we’ve got nothing to lose’ in these last four games.
“The chief executive has already said it would be disastrous if they go down so they may have someone lined up, I’m not sure.”
Lennon, who has led Celtic to their third successive Scottish Premier League title, said he was surprised at the timing of the club’s decision to sack Hughton, with just five games of the season to go and five points above the relegation zone.
“The Premier League is the holy grail of English football, there’s no question about that and the rewards are great but that also brings its own huge pressures,” Lennon said.
“I’m sorry to see Chris go but it seems to have been bubbling under for quite a while. I think the timing, and you’re talking about Neil Adams coming in, for any manager coming into Norwich tonight whether a wealth of experience or a novice like Neil, it’s going to be a hugely difficult task.
“However, the expectation going into the last four games won’t be great so subconsciously it will bring the best out of the players.
“The Fulham game next week is huge and Fulham off the back of a great win against Villa will be buoyed, it’s not an easy place to go when Fulham’s tails are up, Craven Cottage, so Norwich really need to dig out a performance now.”
Those last four games are at home to Liverpool, before trips to Manchester United and Chelsea, then Arsenal at Carrow Road on the final day of the season.
Hartson, who played four game for City during the 2007/08 season, said of the decision: “I can understand it, slightly. The timing is horrendous but I can understand why they’ve got rid of Chris Hughton. His record is not particularly great, I think as well the board maybe have listened to a little bit of fan power and they’ve panicked.
“I agree that the timing, what on earth can the new manager do in five games, especially with their last four games?
“But you look at it and 25 per cent win percentage, he’s won 18 games in 71, so they’re entitled to make a change. The owners own the club and decide who the next manager is but the timing, I agree, is shocking.”
Would you like to see Lennon take over as manager if City can retain their top-flight status? Leave your comments below.
Follow David Freezer on Twitter @davefreezer.