Crowd didn't bother me - Lambert
David CuffleyNorwich City boss Paul Lambert insisted the hostility of the Colchester crowd did not bother him as his players exacted sweet revenge for their humiliation on the opening day of the season.David Cuffley
Norwich City boss Paul Lambert insisted the hostility of the Colchester crowd did not bother him as his players exacted sweet revenge for their humiliation on the opening day of the season.
Lambert was roundly booed by home supporters as he emerged from the tunnel before Saturday's League One match, his first return visit to the club he managed when they beat City 7-1 at Carrow Road back in August.
But he responded with a wave and a thumbs-up to the travelling Canary fans and went on to thoroughly enjoy his afternoon, to judge from some extravagant goal celebrations.
'I know what it's like because I used to play up in Glasgow, as everybody knows, and half the city like you and half the city just don't, so it wasn't about me, it didn't bother me,' said Lambert.
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'If I was doing that bad here why still go on about it after seven months? If I was that bad why is it still going on?
'I got asked did I ever think it was going to be a significant part of the day and it wasn't.'
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He praised his players, however, for the way they handled the pre-match build-up, with the memory of that 7-1 defeat five months earlier still relatively fresh.
'The lads were brilliant, considering everything that was going on and all the things that were being said, and the Colchester crowd's reaction. I thought the lads kept their heads, they kept the game going and we were worthy winners,' he said.
'The lads at Norwich were beaten heavily at the beginning of the season and I'm pretty sure for some of them it was at their back of their minds but they never ever showed it.'
The result also rewarded City fans for their loyalty since that opening day humiliation, with 1,900 in the away section and hundreds of others believed to be dotted around the ground.
'We had 2,000 here today and we could have had a lot more. As I've said before, they have been fantastic for us this season following us everywhere in their droves,' said Lambert.
'I'm pretty sure that today was sweet for them after what happened on the opening day of the season.
'We will do everything we can to try and go up this season, but for this moment in time I hope we gave them something to feel happy about.'
Lambert revealed that Wes Hoolahan, who missed a second-half penalty, had been doubtful in the days leading up to the game.
'He has had a virus this week. He wasn't feeling well on Thursday and it was a big, big call for him to train on Friday and he did and I thought some of his football at times was excellent,' said the City boss.
'The lads have had to change their game to certain conditions and I thought some of the football we played in really bad conditions was exceptional.'
City displayed clinical finishing with Chris Martin's two goals taking his goal tally to 16 for the season, defender Gary Doherty scoring his sixth, substitute Oli Johnson bagging his first for the club and skipper Grant Holt wrapping up victory with his 23rd of the campaign.
Said Lambert: 'They were lethal. Chrissy Martin - what a terrific finisher he is of a football. Grant does what Grant does best, which is being brilliant for me, and Oli, coming on, is starting to become a cult hero with that crowd, and he's only played about 15 minutes.'