Lambert delighted to have closed gap on Leeds
David CuffleyManager Paul Lambert was delighted that Norwich City beat both the weather and intrepid travellers Exeter City to close the gap to six points on League One leaders Leeds United.David Cuffley
Manager Paul Lambert was delighted that Norwich City beat both the weather and intrepid travellers Exeter City to close the gap to six points on League One leaders Leeds United.
While head groundsman Gary Kemp and his staff ensured the game went ahead despite the freezing weather - one of only seven matches played in England on Saturday - the Grecians squad and some 250 supporters defied the snow and hazardous roads to complete a 600-mile plus round trip.
"I think the ground staff deserve a lot of credit for what they're doing," said Lambert after his side's 3-1 victory made it nine home wins in a row and put them three points ahead of third-placed Charlton.
"I was in the other day and people from the offices were sweeping the terracing so it just shows you that people are working really hard to try to get the games on. The ground staff, Gary and his team, deserve credit."
The City boss also identified with the kind of journey facing Exeter after his own side's travel itinerary over the past few months has included trips to Hartlepool, Carlisle twice, Southampton twice and Yeovil.
"We've travelled the world, I think, since I've been here," he said. "The travelling, I think, is incredible, especially Exeter. It was absolutely brilliant, the fans coming to get here through the weather conditions.
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"But we're the same. There probably isn't a team, except Carlisle or Hartlepool, who travels the same distance. You're right to give fans credit for the distance they go."
The fact that Leeds were held to a 1-1 draw at home to Wycombe - the team beaten 1-0 by City the previous week - was a bonus.
"Leeds are a really good side," said Lambert. "But it just shows you, one week they go to Old Trafford and beat one of the best teams in world football and then Wycombe go up there and get a fantastic result.
"As I said after the Wycombe game, all we can try to do is eat our way into their lead. They've got a few points ahead, but we're edging there, that's for sure."
Lambert praised Exeter for making City work for their victory.
"They came and had a go as everybody else has done here," he said. "They made it difficult for us.
"You're always a wee bit precarious at 2-0.
"Exeter got the goal and hung on to it for a couple of minutes and then we went back up and scored which effectively killed the game.
"I know exactly what it's like when you hear some fans grumbling that we can't get the ball but you've got to give Exeter credit."
Lambert admitted City fans may now be turning up expecting home win after home win.
"The players have raised the expectancy level and the crowd are fantastic, no two ways about it. They're a credit to the football club," he said.