Holt was just unplayable against Town, says Lambert
PUBLISHED: 10:22 29 November 2010
Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2010
Manager Paul Lambert paid his own tribute to skipper and hat-trick hero Grant Holt as the Canaries wrapped up a thrilling November with one of their greatest derby triumphs over Ipswich.
After drawing four top-quality matches, they wrapped up the month with a comprehensive 4-1 win over their biggest rivals to go fifth in the Championship.
Holt took his tally to nine goals for the season and 39 in 65 games for the club since his move from Shrewsbury last year.
“I thought he was unplayable. He was terrific. No disrespects to Grant, I don’t think he’s ever going to be a lad with great finesse but when he plays the typical old-fashioned number nine, he’s absolutely brilliant,” said Lambert.
“Getting hold of the ball and leading the line and taking a hit, it’s paramount to how we play. Him and Chrissy Martin were a handful right from the off and when those two play the way they do we’ve got a chance.”
Holt is enjoying his first season of regular Championship football and for a player moving up a division for the second season in a row, he continues to make an impact.
“You’re never quite sure how people will perform when they go up a level,” said Lambert. “They deserve the opportunity to go and do it. I always found it a bizarre thing him going to League Two with Shrewsbury – why did he go that far down? Then all of a sudden you get the opportunity to go again and he’s grasped it. But you have to keep performing to that level.”
Lambert said he always intended to give 20-year-old Henri Lansbury a start, and the midfielder had a hand in three of City’s four goals on his debut after signing on loan from Arsenal.
“I thought you could tell why he’s at the club he’s at,” said Lambert. “I thought his pass for the second goal was Messi-like, the way he threaded that through. After 15 minutes, he got a grip of the game, he got the occasion and some of his passing . . . without putting too much pressure on that kid, he’ll be a top player.”
Lambert was in two minds over the sending-off of Town’s Damien Delaney for a foul on Holt, saying: “If you’re going by the letter of the law it might be red, but he (Holt) has still got a lot of work to go and do, otherwise he might have caught him. I really don’t know.”
A recurrence of a knee injury for Andrew Surman was the one cloud for Lambert on a memorable day – that and having to watch the game from the directors’ box at the start of a two-match touchline ban.
“It’s not great but it’s my own fault. You take the rap. You get a better view but it’s still not great,” he said.
On his side’s November record, Lambert said: “It’s great not being beaten. If you cannot win a game make sure you don’t get beaten. We have been away to some hard places with a lot of lads injured and lads playing in different positions and still not been beaten but I always thought we were playing well.”
“You want to be first (in the table) but I’m just trying to keep my head above the water. You never take anything for granted.”