'When Norwich were in League One they had Championship players. That is the difference' - Lambert on his Blues' mission
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Paul Lambert is warning those who expect him to repeat his Norwich City success at Ipswich Town it will take much longer.
Lambert returns to Carrow Road with the Blues for an intriguing East Anglian derby with the clubs separated by 39 points and 22 places in the Championship table ahead of the weekend’s latest fixtures.
The Scot picked up a club listing towards the bottom of League One when he arrived in Norfolk and plotted two successive promotions before keeping them in the Premier League.
But Lambert insisted he inherited a much better hand with the Canaries.
“When Norwich were in League One they had Championship players. That is the difference,” he said. Wes Hoolahan, Grant Holt, Darel Russell. All top players. They were in League One. Even Chrissy Martin, guys like that. I brought in Fraser Forster, Russell Martin. They all knew it. Gilly (Matt Gill). They were better players than League One. All they had to do was gel together, get a bit of momentum and get out of that league.
“Gilly knows that club better than I do. He was there longer than I was. I was there at a time when the club was very low and not going well with the finances. We had to stabilise it but it was those lads. You saw me a little bit, but the players did it.
“This football club has lost a lot of football players, 45 goals out of the team in one transfer window. The amount of turnover is incredible. Norwich have been in the Premier League, so they have had incredible finances. This club have not been in it for 17 years. The Premier League gives you an opening but the secret is to stay in it. We are miles behind that.”
Lambert left for Aston Villa in 2012 and the Scot reiterated ahead of his latest return he feels his achievements have not been fully appreciated.
“It might feel different if I had gone back to Norwich and people were like, ‘How are you doing Paul?’ Ever since I went back there has been nothing,” he said. “I gave Norwich everything. For three years. I was tired, I needed a break.
“Now I will give everything I have for Ipswich to win and no one can point the finger at me.
“When I got this opportunity of course there was a little bit of trepidation because you don’t know how people accept you. It was great. As soon as walked in the door everyone was great. What you do get from us is 100pc enthusiasm, 100pc commitment. I give it everything. I am never in between. I am full on.
“Whatever team I play (on Sunday) they have to be ready for it. The support will be up for it. That is for sure. The atmosphere will be great and we’re going to try and go for it.”