Norwich City boss Paul Lambert: We suffered a taste of our own medicine against Manchester United
PUBLISHED: 13:28 27 February 2012
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City boss Paul Lambert admitted he would have to "take my medicine" after a stoppage-time goal by Manchester United milestone man Ryan Giggs condemned his side to defeat.
The Canaries scored a string of late, late goals en route to promotion from the Championship last season but were undone yesterday by a 38-year-old playing his 900th game for his club as Giggs struck in time added on at Carrow Road.
“I thought we were excellent, but Manchester United have done that for 25 years since Sir Alex Ferguson has been there and we’ve done it ourselves with last-minute goals and this time I need to take my medicine,” said Lambert.
“I know what it feels like but we gave it everything. I couldn’t ask for any more. That was a huge performance by us.”
Grant Holt’s 83rd-minute equaliser seemed to have secured a point but United gained second wind and a late assault produced the winner as Giggs scored from substitute Ashley Young’s cross.
“We were running on empty. I couldn’t fault my lads, I really couldn’t,” said Lambert. “They gave me absolutely everything. Manchester United, the team they are, they come at you from all angles but I couldn’t ask for any more.”
City had fallen behind to a seventh-minute goal from United’s other veteran performer, Paul Scholes, and were repeatedly thwarted by goalkeeper David de Gea before Holt struck.
“It was a poor goal to lose but the pleasing thing was when you lose that goal early, you don’t capitulate. We never did that but hung in and slowly but surely got a foothold in the game,” said Lambert. “We came back strongly, the goalkeeper probably saved his best game for Manchester United against us – some of his saves were outstanding. There’s no way the team should be criticised.
“When I sit back tonight and think how really disappointed I am, I’ll probably reflect and think we gave it a right good go.”
Of Scholes and Giggs, he said: “The two of them are a huge part of Manchester United’s history and they know how to win. They’ve won major tournaments throughout their time and on the outside looking in they are two fabulous footballers.”
As for United’s title challenge – maintaining a two-point gap behind leaders and big rivals Manchester City – Lambert said: “Top teams know how to go over the finishing line. Sir Alex has said it himself. As soon as that turn of the year comes, they seem to go with it. Big, big clubs are always there or thereabouts.”
City defender Russell Martin missed yesterday’s game with ’flu, while Lambert confirmed that replacing Simeon Jackson with Wes Hoolahan at half-time was a tactical decision, not down to injury, and no reflection on the Canadian’s performance.
Striker Aaron Wilbraham also earned praised for his second impressive show as a substitute in successive weeks.
He was denied his first Premier League goal only by a brilliant save from De Gea, just seconds before Holt scored.
“He’s brilliant. Aaron is a brilliant lad off the pitch as well and he deserves an opportunity like everybody else to see what he can do,” said Lambert.
“He’s been marvellous for me round about the club and in the last two games when he’s come on he’s been an absolute handful.”