May 24 2013 Latest news:
Monday, October 29, 2012
Norwich City’s little magician Wes Hoolahan admitted that getting one over the old boss was definitely on his agenda as the Canaries left Paul Lambert with more headaches than his Carrow Road successor.
Hoolahan was head and shoulders above his contemporaries on a day when all eyes were on Lambert – and the reaction of the travelling fans as he walked out at Villa Park just before 12.45pm on Saturday.
But it wasn’t long before all eyes were on Hoolahan, who lit up a muted 45 minutes with a performance that surely this time cannot fail to attract the attentions of Republic of Ireland manager Giovanni Trapattoni when he names his squad for a friendly against Greece early this week.
Hoolahan was denied only by the boot of keeper Brad Guzman in the first half and then again in the second before teeing up a deserve equaliser for central defence Michael Turner – the least City deserved.
“In the second half we put a lot of pressure on Villa, we limited them to one or two chances and are disappointed to come away with a draw,” said Hoolahan. “It would have been galling to leave with nothing.
“At least Paul Lambert hasn’t got one over us yet.
“You want to get one over him if you can, but I thought we played well.”
Hoolahan’s association with Lambert goes back further than most – Lambert was his manager at Livingston for a short time in 2005 and they spent three years together at Carrow Road before the Scot left for Villa in the summer.
A shake of the hands as they headed down the tunnel after the final whistle perhaps reflected the longevity of the relationship.
Hoolahan profited from Lambert’s time at Norwich, and believes Villa will benefit too.
“It takes time to settle in with a new team, and he’s got new players too,” he said. “But after working with him for four years I know Villa have got a great manager there.
“Of course, he’ll do well.”
Hoolahan insists the Lambert Factor didn’t play much of a part in City’s build-up, now being orchestrated by Chris Hughton.
“We didn’t talk about it much,” he said. “Players move on, managers move on. You just have to stick with your team and work together.
“They have their different stuff, Paul’s a great man manager, Chris is real quiet but gets his word across really well.
“The gaffer told us to treat this like any other game. Just concentrate on getting three points hopefully, we want to build on a great result against Arsenal.”
The transition between managers hasn’t perhaps been as smooth as fans would hope, but four points from two games suggests things could be about to change.
It’s no coincidence that against Arsenal the previous weekend and then at Villa park, it was Hoolahan who had everyone drooling.
“It takes time, of course, with a new manager coming in and playing the way he wants to play,” said the 30-year-old, who has pretty much a free reign playing just behind skipper Grant Holt, also denied by Guzan’s heroics.
“In the last two games, we’ve played really well. When you’ve got Holty up there playing with you it’s great because he knows where to run.
“I enjoy playing in this position. Holty was unlucky, the keeper stuck a boot out and stopped him. Next week hopefully.”
So, will City finish above Villa?
“We want to finish as high as we can, achieve what we did last season and push on even more,” said Hooolahan, diplomatically.
“We’re looking higher than the bottom of the table, we have a lot of quality players here.”