Sunderland boss Martin O’Neill full of praise for Norwich City’s Paul Lambert

Sunderland manager Martin O'Neill has spoken of his admiration for the way City boss Paul Lambert has turned the club's fortunes round – by being 'his own man'.

Lambert was captain at Celtic during O'Neill's spell as manager – including in the 2003 UEFA Cup final – and the mutual respect is clear.

'I had Paul as a player at Celtic and he had a fantastic pedigree, including winning the Champions' League with Borussia Dortmund,' said O'Neill, left.

'He was in the latter stages of his career, but he was far from finished. He went on to win some big matches for us and some big games with us.

'But it was just in his final year there when it looked as if he was going to be looking at either coaching or managing that he asked me if he could take his coaching badges in Germany, where he had a great affinity with them in his time with Dortmund. So I said 'Yes, absolutely, go and do it'.

'He was always very ambitious and has had a great time at Norwich. What he has done is fantastic.

'I've seen Norwich a couple of times this year and they have always been very impressive. They go right to the end, too.

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'Paul has done remarkably well – he took over a club who had fallen on tough times and dropped a couple of divisions.

'He has kept the thing going after back-to-back promotions, so much so that they remain on the crest of a wave.'

O'Neill, who had six months in charge of Norwich in 1995 after two spells as a player, revealed he had spoken 'once or twice' on the telephone to Lambert but added: 'He is his own man and able to sort things out for himself quite easily, as his record shows.'