Lambert - Title experience will help Norwich City
Paul Lambert believes his Norwich City squad can call on the experience of last season's League One-winning campaign – and the fear of mediocrity – to pip their Premier League race rivals.
A defining dozen games remain for the Canaries, level on points with second-placed Swansea before this afternoon's fixtures, to make it consecutive promotions since Lambert took charge during the opening exchanges of last season.
And despite plenty of changes to the personnel since that third tier title, Lambert is confident the belief it generated around Carrow Road and Colney will help them out over the next nine weeks.
'The thing is, obviously a lot of the players know what happened last season and they know the feeling of it, which will help them,' said Lambert.
'And they also know they are right up there. They're joint second, which is an unbelievable achievement at the minute.
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'The great thing about it is, for the last nearly two years they have always been in it. They have always had that feeling of trying to win or trying to achieve something. That is why you are in the game – not to be mediocre.
'You have that mentality – and when that goes, you start to accept mediocrity or the fear of not winning. That is what drives you on and hopefully the lads have got this fear of further in their career, whenever it is, they don't challenge for things – it's not nice.'
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While the Canaries completed a convincing march to the League One title last season, current Championship promotion rivals Cardiff City and Nottingham Forest suffered slips in the regular season and play-offs that ultimately cost them a place in the Premier League. And with this season's finishing line edging closer, but Lambert is confident last season's experience and his squad's mentality is just right.
'I think that (indifferent form during the run in) can happen, but the lads seem to thrive on it,' said Lambert. 'They know they have to win more games than not to give ourselves a chance. You know you've got to pick up points, whether it's one or three.'
Seven FA charges and the possibility of a points deduction for Championship leaders Queens Park Rangers over the signing of midfielder Alejandro Faurlin has threatened to blow the title race wide open.
Lambert said: 'I'm sure the authorities will deal with that – I can't comment on something I don't know about, all we can do is keep chasing them,' said Lambert.
'Outside influences don't bother me. What bothers me is what happens here. If QPR lose points, then fine. If they get fined, so be it.'
Lambert added: 'Yes, of course QPR are (catchable). Seven points is not much. Until somebody actually says to me you can't do it or with the points it's impossible, then you keep on trying.
'But people are catchable. There's not that much in it.'