Norwich City missed Hoolahan factor – Lambert
PUBLISHED: 11:45 11 April 2011
Focus Images 2011
Manager Paul Lambert admitted that Norwich City missed the influence of Wes Hoolahan as they crashed to the heaviest league defeat of his reign.
Hoolahan was ruled out of the 3-0 Championship reverse at Swansea by a hamstring injury and it is a case of “wait and see” over a possible return against Watford at Vicarage Road tomorrow night.
“He wasn’t close for this one – maybe Tuesday, I’ll have to see,” said Lambert, who was hoping two 20-year-olds, on-loan pair Henri Lansbury and Dani Pacheco, might provide a touch of the Irishman’s inspiration in the promotion encounter.
“Dani gives you something different, Henri gives you something different. They’re young lads but with Wes being a bit more experienced, there are not too many players like Wes Hoolahan going about, full stop.
“I certainly wouldn’t like to play against him, that’s for sure, not the way he’s playing.
“He’s a top player and his form at the minute has been outstanding.”
City have never lost two successive league games in the same season under Lambert and they need to maintain that record against Malky Mackay’s Hornets.
“I’m confident they’ll give me everything they’ve got but I can’t dictate results,” said Lambert.
“I can only get them ready for another hard game and as soon as the lads cross that white line it’s up to them. They have to go and play the game. I’m glad there’s another game coming up on Tuesday.”
Lambert said missed chances cost City – even before Fabio Borini’s stunning free-kick gave Swansea the lead.
“I thought we should have scored before Swansea got the free-kick,” he said. “Dani did great and the goalkeeper made a good save and Grant (Holt) had the follow-up, so we had a chance to go 1-0 up.
“The free-kick, you’ve got to hold your hand up, it’s a brilliant free-kick. It really is. We can’t do anything about that.
“The second goal was a bit disappointing because we might have shut the ball down a bit earlier. It’s still a very good strike.
“But the pleasing thing is we never wilted and we tried to get back. Grant had a terrific chance with the header, and Korey Smith made the goalkeeper make two saves but when you’re on top you’ve got to score.
“I’m disappointed to lose but we’re sitting second, still. I’d rather be in this position than not. If you’d said to me ‘You’ve got six games to go and you’re sitting second’ I’d have got you a straitjacket, I think, so I’m going to take it.”