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Lambert: Stick together and then we'll be all right

PUBLISHED: 11:58 28 November 2011

Steve Morison's performances have been keeping Grant Holt, right, on the bench but it was he who came on as a sub to score the winner. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Steve Morison's performances have been keeping Grant Holt, right, on the bench but it was he who came on as a sub to score the winner. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

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Norwich City boss Paul Lambert has applauded match-winner Grant Holt for keeping his head up during a long spell on the substitutes' bench.

Holt, top scorer for the club in League One and the Championship, has started just one of the last nine Premier League games, but has come off the bench to score in three of the last five matches.

His equalising goals against Liverpool and Blackburn and Saturday’s winner against Queens Park Rangers at Carrow Road have been worth an additional four points to the Canaries.

But the 30-year-old has been kept out of the starting line-up by the form of summer signing Steve Morison, who had scored in three successive games before the 2-1 victory over Rangers.

“It’s my prerogative to pick what team I want to pick for this club,” said Lambert. “I’ve got to try to win a game and Grant has been brilliant for me for two and a half years and brilliant this year again.

“It’s just the system I pick at the minute and I think Morison is playing ever so well, but Grant has never let his head go down, which is great. The hardest job I’ve got is to pick a team. I’ll try to keep everybody happy and they’ll stick together. If we do that, we’ll be all right. At this minute in time, they’re really strong.”

Morison’s combative performance against QPR, where he gave defender Anton Ferdinand an uncomfortable afternoon, earned glowing praise from his manager.

“I think he’s getting better, Steve Morison, with every passing game. For somebody who’s just come out of non-League two years ago, it’s been a huge rise in his own career and he’s got a long way to go, but he’s doing really, really fine.

“I think he’s deceptive when the ball’s played up to him. I think he’s a handful, the lad, and for somebody who’s just out of non-League, it’s a brilliant story for him.”

Lambert made three changes from the 2-1 home defeat by Arsenal, defender Ritchie de Laet and midfielder Andrew Surman making their first appearances since September, and striker Simeon Jackson getting his first Premier League start, though De Laet played just under an hour before a recurrence of a back problem.

“I think we have to utilise the squad. Simeon’s not played this season, Andrew very little and Ritchie has played the early part. I just felt we had to change it. Ian (Culverhouse) and I spoke after the Arsenal game about what we thought we would do and luckily enough, it worked.

“Surman is a really intelligent footballer, really clever footballer. He has a really strong left foot and I thought in the game today, as the second half went on, he got stronger.”

Lambert deflected the credit for the double substitution that turned the game City’s way as Wes Hoolahan set up Holt for the winning goal three minutes after they were introduced.

“The players do it. They’re the ones who go and play the game,” he said. “I put my trust in them when they go on the field of play that they’re going to perform. I’ve done that for the last two years, I’ve trusted them. They’ve just been a brilliant group to work with.

“For 10 or 15 minutes QPR put us on the back foot. They’re a really good side, and you can see why with the players they’ve got and the way they’re going. But after that we regrouped and I thought we deserved to win the game.”

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