Lambert - We had to go all out for victory in closing minutes
City boss Paul Lambert admitted he had risked the loss of one point in the pursuit of an extra two as his players conjured up another remarkable victory at Carrow Road.
Simeon Jackson's goal after five minutes of stoppage time clinched a 3-2 win over Derby as the Canaries threw every man forward, knowing a draw would have cost them second place in the Championship table with two matches to go.
'The position you're in you have to try to win the game,' said Lambert, who added on-loan pair Henri Lansbury and Dani Pacheco to the attacking mix in the closing stages of the game with the score at 2-2.
'You're taking the risk if you do it and I'm pretty sure it would be different if we had lost the game.'
Yet another late winner, as Jackson completed his second hat-trick in three home games, produced extraordinary scenes on and off the pitch.
You may also want to watch:
'Your heart couldn't stand that – I couldn't go through that every week,' said Lambert.
'There have been a few like that and they're exciting if you win them. I think you sense the relief when that actually happens, but the lads, I can't describe what they have given me.
- 1 'It feels like Christmas': Shoppers return to city as lockdown lifts
- 2 An ‘Après Ski’ inspired food and drink event is coming to Norwich
- 3 Norwich pub to host Christmas market and Disney breakfast
- 4 Schools in Norfolk closed or partially shut due to coronavirus
- 5 'We've lost £300,000': Bar owner slams £1,000 grant 'insult'
- 6 Police search after reports of camouflaged man 'with weapon' in woods
- 7 Early start for shoppers as Norfolk comes out of lockdown
- 8 What you can (and can't) do as Norfolk enters Tier 2 restrictions
- 9 Parts of Norfolk may see snow by end of the week, say forecasters
- 10 Covid-19 vaccine: who will get it, when and how?
'I know how important that game was. It is a massive win for ourselves.'
City know that victory in the final two matches, at Portsmouth next Monday evening and at home to Coventry on May 7, will clinch a second successive promotion.
'We know if we win the next two we have done it. I know that sounds a lot easier than actually doing it. I am realistic enough to know that regardless of what happens we have had an absolutely incredible season. We've done brilliantly well to be where we are and I just think it's exciting for everybody connected with Norwich,' said Lambert.
Jackson earned special praise after making it eight goals in six games.
'He was brilliant today. I thought he was unplayable, Jackson, excellent. He has had a bit of a hard time of it since he came to the football club but to be fair to that lad he has stepped up to the plate in the last six, seven weeks so I am delighted for him.'
'I think it was a world class goal,' said Lambert of Jackson's second. 'I think it was a brilliant finish.'
Defender Zak Whitbread's hip injury, which cut his afternoon short after 57 minutes, is the main concern ahead of the trip to Pompey.
Derby boss Nigel Clough is pleased his team have secured Championship status despite the defeat.
'I'm delighted we're safe but we asked the players to have a go. We did at QPR and we did again today,' he said.
'When you come here with 20-odd thousand ready for a promotion party, we dealt with it well.
'Despite being where we are in the league, we have so many positives. We are 17 places off Norwich, are we that much worse? I'm not sure we are.
'I thought we did OK in the first half and was a bit disappointed we didn't make more of our situations. We had a bit of play in the final third and never really made anything from it. It was hard, to concede on the stroke of half-time, the 45th minute, then the 96th. But at least we had a go. That's what we asked them to do.'