We gave ourselves just too much to do - Norwich City boss Paul Lambert

Manager Paul Lambert admitted his Norwich City players gave themselves a mountain to climb by conceding two goals in the first 13 minutes at Fulham – but felt they should not have returned home empty-handed.

The Canaries' travelling fans, who witnessed a 6-0 defeat on their previous visit to Craven Cottage, may have had a nasty sense of d�j� vu when the hosts struck twice so early on.

But there was no repeat of the kind of scoreline that had sentenced City to relegation seven years ago, and after substitute Aaron Wilbraham reduced the arrears with 13 minutes to go, there was still hope of salvaging a point.

'I thought we should have taken something,' said Lambert. 'We were relentless in that second half. You can't give a team two goals head start.

'It's a mountain to climb from there but the response was absolutely terrific, the way we went about it and tried to retrieve the game. In the second half I thought the lads were excellent.

'When you're away from home and you lose a goal really early, it's the worst start you can get – and then you lose another one not long after. We gave ourselves a lot to do, but after that, the performance I thought, in the second half especially, was excellent.

'You've got to hang in. The great thing for me was we never capitulated, which can happen when you've lost two goals as early as that, and being a young team as we are.'

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For the second week running, City kicked off with three central defenders at the back and two wing-backs rather than orthodox full-backs, but once again switched the system at half-time.

Lambert defended the formation when he said: 'It gives you another attacking threat. We've got some really good footballers at the football club and if you can utilise them, then great.

'It won't always be that way. It's just whatever team we think, or whatever system we think can go and win a game, we'll play it. But again it goes back to me trusting them, what system we play.'

Winger Anthony Pilkington was missing for the second week in a row with a hamstring injury.

'He just pulled up the other day. I don't think it's anything serious, really, so hopefully he'll be back next week,' said Lambert.

Meanwhile, full-back Marc Tierney, out of first team action since December, has an outside chance of facing Sunderland in tomorrow's FA Premier Reserve League game at Colney (2pm).

'We'll see how Marc's feeling but he trained with us on Friday for the first time, so he's doing all right,' said the City boss.