Norwich City boss Paul Lambert will not take foot off pedal
PUBLISHED: 12:29 26 March 2012 | UPDATED: 12:42 26 March 2012
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Manager Paul Lambert insists there will be no let-up from Norwich City over the final eight games of the season, despite a 2-1 home victory over Wolves virtually guaranteeing another season in the Premier League.
The Canaries are now 14 points clear of third-from-bottom side Queens Park Rangers and, barring an extraordinary sequence of results, can start to plan for 2012-13 in the top flight.
But first the aim is to finish as high as possible – as an added bonus, each place is worth an extra £750,000 in prize money.
“I don’t feel comfortable until it’s mathematically certain. Even if we do get safe you don’t want to down tools, you want to keep driving on,” said Lambert.
“We want to try to finish as high up as we can and that’s what we’ll try to do. No, I’m never at ease.
“The main thing is to stay up and I’ll keep on focusing on what’s going to happen in the remaining games.
“Everybody’s got to play each other, the bottom ones play each other, so it’s a really tough league, but you don’t rest until you’ve done it.”
After taking one point from the previous four league games, beating Wolves was City’s first victory for six weeks.
“I’m over the moon to win. It’s a massive win for us,” said Lambert. “I’m delighted with the team, as proud as anything of them, for what they’ve done.
“I thought we deserved to win the game. Wolves are probably the same as Wigan, probably finding it easier to play away from home at the minute. You look at the Wigan result today – the team’s fighting for their lives. I knew it was going to be a really difficult game.”
Lambert praised skipper Grant Holt for his two goals, taking him to 14 for the season, and sympathised over his dismissal by referee Mark Clattenburg four minutes from time.
“The first goal was a great finish because it’s never easy when you see the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes, what you’re going to do with it, but it was a brilliant finish. And for the penalty he has to hold his nerve,” he said.
But Holt’s foul on Michael Kightly earned him a second yellow card four minutes from time. He had already been booked following a clash with opposing skipper Roger Johnson.
“I think the first one is a foul against him so I don’t know what the referee’s done there,” said Lambert. “The second one I think Grant’s won the ball, but you run the risk when you go to ground, when you’ve already been booked. I think it’s harsh, I really do.”
However, the City boss rejected the description of Holt, double player of the season winner and inducted into the club’s Hall of Fame last week, as the team’s “talisman”.
“No, I never like using that word because I think it’s a team game,” he said. “We’re in it together. There’s an old cliché that you win together and you lose together, and if this clubs stays up, it will be a collective effort from everybody.”