Sloppy defending cost us dear, says Norwich City boss Paul Lambert
PUBLISHED: 15:40 23 April 2012 | UPDATED: 15:58 23 April 2012
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Paul Lambert admitted his side’s defending at Ewood Park – even for Junior Hoilett’s wonder strike – left a bit to be desired.
Mauro Formica’s unmarked finish four minutes before half-time and Hoilett’s delicious curler from 25-yards four minutes after the interval did the damage for the Canaries, and provided Blackburn boss Steve Kean with the win he deemed essential before kick-off.
“We were right in it with possession and one or two chances but the cross for the first has taken out five of us with one ball and they have one player in the penalty box, so that was a poor goal from our point of view,” said Lambert. “Even at 1-0 we are still in the game, but goals do that. They change games.
“I know what has gone wrong but you can’t allow a ball to travel that distance and the lad is free at the back post.
“For the second, I don’t think you can let a lad come inside and shoot from 25 yards. You have to go and make a tackle, block it or something. We did neither. “That is to take nothing away from Junior Hoilett. He did the same at our place but you can’t run beside somebody. If there is a possibility you have to do something. We huffed and puffed. You take your medicine and we have to go again.”
QPR’s victory over Tottenham evening means City are still not mathematically safe – although it should only be a formality over the final rounds of Premier League matches.
And Lambert denied that situation has bred any complacency in his side: “No – you know the job isn’t done. We still need something. I would hope that is not the case (complacency). I think the nature of football dictates that you try and win every game you can. Whether that is meaningful or not.
“The players know. I’ve got beat – I ain’t going to go in there and say well done. You can talk about the Tottenham game but I just don’t want to win at Tottenham. I want to win every game. It is not always possible but I never want to have that feeling of an acceptance.”
On what was a rare off-day for Norwich, there was a bright spot – summer signing James Vaughan’s first start of an injury-hit season, as he got almost an hour of action following more than two months out with a hamstring strain.
“That is the one positive thing to come out of the game,” said Lambert. “To get James back was great and for that spell I thought he did really, really fine. He looked a handful. He has had a terrible run with injuries but I hope he can get a nice run now. I hope so.
“He’s had some hard times with injuries. The injuries have been quite harsh on him at times but for him to get back out there and play was the one plus thing.”
Blackburn secured the victory Kean demanded – but it was still in front of a backdrop of protests from the home fans, both before and during the game, directed at the club’s owners.
Lambert added: “I don’t really hear it when you are down there. It is just noise because you are so engrossed in it. Obviously looking from afar, things have been going on and I don’t care who you are, it’s not nice. It is the wrong thing to see. They are a good side, I said that all along. I felt that when they came to Norwich and nothing has changed my mind.”
Three games remain in what should be remembered as a successful top-flight return for Norwich – and the City boss is adamant the Canaries know what they have to do to respond to their back-to-back defeats.
“Just try to win the next game against Liverpool. We have to. Too many come to watch us to think we have made it or we have arrived. If you play in front of a big crowd you have to perform.
“That is why you have to keep going. The lads have been brilliant. Ian Culverhouse has been a massive part of it. I’ve been disappointed in certain games.
“Next season they will need a hand, I said that on Friday.
“Every season you play football there always has to be a turnover.
“You have to keep striving to get better.”