Monday, April 16, 2012
Paul Lambert insists his players must learn the brutal lessons from the biggest defeat of his Norwich City reign.
City were blown away in the final quarter of the game at Carrow Road after Andrew Surman’s early second half strike had dragged them back into the contest.
Carlos Tevez and Argentine compatriot Sergio Aguero were in scintillating goalscoring form for Roberto Mancini’s men before Adam Johnson slotted a sixth in stoppage time to complete the rout.
“The last 20 minutes I was disappointed,” said Lambert. “I thought we were right in the game. At 2-1 the lads were in the ascendancy but three goals in seven minutes were poor from our point of view – but I am not going to criticise the team.
“The second goal I have just watched it back and the strike has come from nowhere but we are playing against lads who are top drawer.
“The finishing was lethal. That is the level you are up against and you make no apology for it. We are up against a fabulous side when you look at the players they have got, but when we got the goal back we had a chance to make it 2-2 when Aaron (Wilbraham) goes through.
“I can’t ask for any more. Second half, I thought we got back into it really well, but when you are playing against that sort of calibre that is what can happen.”
Lambert acknowledged Manchester City’s potent attacking quartet is as good as any in the Premier League after watching Norwich hammered home and away this season.
“You look at their front four lads and they are definitely top, top players,” he said. “You’ve seen the first goal. He (Tevez) is a goalscorer, that’s the thing. When you’ve got those type of players, they can make things happen.
“It’s not just the goalscoring, they can create as well. No matter what way you want to wrap it up, they’re top players. They’re international players and they seem to have a good understanding together. They’ve got a top side. The movement is very, very good. But where Manchester United are sitting in the table you have to also give them a lot of credit.
“Tottenham were very good when they came here, Manchester United as well, all the top teams, but I’m not so sure that we merited a 6-1 defeat.”
Lambert opted to reward the same starting line-up who had earned a landmark Easter Monday win at Spurs, before making a double change to his midfield during the interval with the introduction of Wes Hoolahan and Surman.
“I thought the team against Spurs deserved the right to go again, but we looked tired towards the end of the first half so we changed it a little bit,” he said. “The Spurs game was an incredible effort, to win there.
“The lads earned the right to go again and for 70-odd minutes we were in this game. Then 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 that’s important for the team that they don’t get their heads down.”