Paul Lambert won’t dwell on biggest defeat of Norwich City reign
PUBLISHED: 12:47 16 April 2012 | UPDATED: 13:06 16 April 2012
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Manager Paul Lambert is determined not to let one crushing home defeat take the gloss off Norwich City’s first season back in the Premier League, insisting: “You pick yourselves up and go again.”
After the Canaries suffered the heaviest reverse of Lambert’s reign, 6-1 at home to title-chasing Manchester City, he said: “I’m not going to sit here and criticise the team. We have been incredible this season, we really have. We have been fantastic.
“The beauty about football is you get another chance at it and that’s what will happen next Saturday.”
The defeat was Norwich’s biggest since Lambert’s Colchester team inflicted a 7-1 thrashing on them at Carrow Road in August 2009, just 10 days before he switched clubs.
Saturday’s 6-1 hammering, with Argentine pair Carlos Tevez and Sergio Aguero contributing five goals between them, also came just five days after Lambert’s team had produced their result of the season, a 2-1 victory at Tottenham.
Now they will look to get back to winning ways when they visit relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers on Saturday.
“I know what the lads have done, I know the way the game went. As I said to them, you dust yourself down and you go again,” he said.
“We’ll learn from it. Sometimes when you get a knock it’s how you come back from it. And the lads will be fine.
“I’m disappointed, like everybody else, to get beaten the way we did but you’ve also got to remember that for 70-odd minutes we were right in the game. But when you’ve got lads that can finish like that, you have to take your medicine.
“You can’t switch off when you’re at that level. It’s an impossibility. The game is that quick that when you play against teams such as that, they can hurt you at any moment.
“But as for the scoreline, I’m not so sure if we merited a 6-1 defeat.”
The Canaries were only 2-1 down with less than 20 minutes remaining after Andrew Surman’s fifth goal of the season halved the interval lead Tevez and Aguero had given the Blues with spectacular goals. But three goals in seven minutes ended the contest as Tevez completed a hat-trick either side of Ageuro’s second goal, and substitute Adam Johnson completed the scoring in stoppage time.
“At 2-1 we were right in it and the lads were on the ascendancy but three goals in seven minutes was poor from our point of view,” admitted Lambert.
“The first two goals were absolute rockets, fabulous strikes. But the good thing was we never wilted. In the second half I thought we started really well and scored a good goal ourselves. But when you’re playing against that calibre, that’s what can happen – three goals in seven minutes and you think ‘Where has that come from?’
“But it happens and that’s what happens when you play against top players. The important thing is I’m not going to let one defeat ruin what’s been an incredible season and it’s important for the team that they don’t get their heads down.”
Lambert sent out the same eleven who started Monday’s win at White Hart Lane, but withdrew Bradley Johnson and Anthony Pilkington at half-time when he introduced Surman and Wes Hoolahan.
He said: “I thought the team that beat Spurs deserved the right to go again. We looked tired, I thought, towards the end of the first half and we changed that a little bit. Andrew and Wes came on and did really fine.”
The City boss had words of consolation for goalkeeper John Ruddy, arguably at fault for Manchester City’s third goal, and defender Ryan Bennett, whose poor backpass presented Tevez with his third goal and his side’s fifth.
“I said to John with the third goal, the thing about his job is if you make one mistake, that’s what can happen,” said Lambert. “But you get no thanks for it when you make wonder saves, so that’s the position he’s in. But John Ruddy has been brilliant for me.
“Ryan’s only a young kid and he’s come into this place and he’s been a revelation for us. The great thing about that mistake was he never wilted.”