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Norwich City boss Paul Lambert urges bravery against Manchester United

09:08 25 February 2012

Norwich chief Paul Lambert is relishing the chance to test himself against Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Fergsuon in Sunday

Norwich chief Paul Lambert is relishing the chance to test himself against Manchester United counterpart Sir Alex Fergsuon in Sunday's Premier League test at Carrow Road. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd.

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Sir Alex Ferguson may have packed the hairdryer away for good but Paul Lambert knows his men will have to be fearless tomorrow at Carrow Road.

"I don’t think there has been a better manager in Britain to do what he’s done. It’s been a phenomenon, what’s happened up there, with how many years he’s been at the helm, turning teams over and over. You look at his record. Will it ever be done again, what he’s done in 25 years? God knows how many trophies he’s won – someone said 49 – it really is incredible. It’s just an unbelievable achievement."

Paul Lambert, on Sir Alex Ferguson

Manchester United’s legendary manager revealed in a radio interview earlier this week his famous method of intimidation and confrontation is no longer a tactic of choice to tame the modern-day player. Not that the former shop steward has mellowed with age. Ferguson still has the capacity to strike fear into friend and foe alike – but fellow Glaswegian Lambert is ready to meet the challenge this weekend.

“I’ve spoken to him a lot on the phone, he is a really nice guy, and his success rate is huge, but no, there are not a lot of things that frighten me,” he said. “I’ve got the greatest time and respect for every manager in the game because football management is not very easy. It’s really tough.

“I’ve been in a League Two situation and I know what it’s like there. It’s really, really hard. And at the top end it’s the same, at that level where you have to win more games than not and he’s done that over that time, it’s a remarkable achievement.

“I don’t think there has been a better manager in Britain to do what he’s done. It’s been a phenomenon, what’s happened up there, with how many years he’s been at the helm, turning teams over and over. You look at his record. Will it ever be done again, what he’s done in 25 years? God knows how many trophies he’s won – someone said 49 – it really is incredible. It’s just an unbelievable achievement.”

Ferguson publicly admitted to a rare sign of fallibility with his team selection after the midweek Europa League defeat to Ajax. Lambert does not expect lightening to strike twice.

“He’s the greatest manager this country will ever see and there are not too many times he’s ever said that,” he said. “It doesn’t matter a jot, if you get through. It doesn’t matter how you do it in cup competitions, the thing is you have to try to get through. It will take some team to stop them going the distance.

“They’re an absolutely brilliant side, they really are. They’ve got brilliant players. Wayne Rooney is a world-class player, Paul Scholes coming back has been a major thing for them – I think he’s just a fantastic footballer. And obviously Ryan Giggs, those lads know how to win. They’ve been at the top for many a year, so I’m pretty sure coming to us is not going to really faze them.

“They’re going for the Premier League title again and we’re going to have to be on top of our game to get anything. What we have to do is try to play our own game and try to get after them as best we can.”

City counter-attacked with a fair degree of success in October’s 2-0 Old Trafford reverse. Lambert believes his men will need to revise that policy on home turf to retain an element of surprise.

“We have to be careful. You can’t be too gung-ho at the beginning because you could be out of the game before you’re in it,” he said. “That’s something I don’t want to do. We have to try and impose ourselves on the game, but they can certainly hurt you at any given time. I thought we played really, really well that day but if you don’t take your chances against a team like that, you knew what was going to happen because they can create things from absolutely nothing.

“It’s fantastic for our football club that a team of that stature has come here in the first place to play in a competitive game. They’re still one of the best teams in Europe, let alone Britain.

“It’s a great occasion for the Norwich crowd to see Manchester United come down, but we don’t want them to get an easy ride from us. We have to try to win – we need the points ourselves to try to stay in the league.”

City may have slipped quietly out of the FA Cup last weekend but Lambert’s squad host the reigning champions on the back of one league defeat in nine.

“The main priority is the team staying in the league,” he said. “We had a lot of injuries from the Swansea game last weekend and couldn’t risk a few of them to play in that game, but Manchester United is not a game we’re going to be frightened by.

“That’s the nature of it, you try to win, and the players have done fantastic to get us in this position. They’re the ones that deserve every bit of credit coming their way.

“They are good players, really good players. They have a great work ethic, great enthusiasm and they’re the ones that deserve everything that’s been said about them. It’s a big thanks to them that we’re sitting where we are. Sometimes they can get a bit under-estimated.”

Lambert confirmed defender Zak Whitbread is fit to return after missing both the Swansea league win and Leicester FA Cup defeat with a hamstring injury. Dani Ayala (hamstring) remains on the sidelines and United’s visit this weekend is expected to come too soon for left-back Marc Tierney (groin).

Striker James Vaughan successfully featured in a second half cameo against the Foxes last weekend, but Lambert intends to ease the ex-England U21 international gently back into the fold.

“It’s probably a bit too soon for Vaughan (to start). He did fine when he came on,” he said. “He and (Aaron) Wilbraham did great. James on another day might have scored but you have to be patient because of the length of time he’s been off.

“There are one or two little things carrying over from the Swansea game, so I have to wait and see. There will be a few coming back hopefully and I’ll just try to pick a team I think will win.”

Fit-again midfielder Jonny Howson has trained with the rest of the senior squad for the first time this week since arriving from Leeds last month, but will not be considered.

Howson arrived at Carrow Road with a knee injury that had ruled him out since December. City have a scheduled home Premier Reserve League fixture early next week against Wolves – but Lambert will make a decision on Howson’s possible involvement after the weekend.

“Jonny is looking all right and I hope he won’t be too far away,” he said.

“I’ll see how he’s doing (for next week) but he’s only done this week and may need a wee bit more time.”

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24 comments

  • BTW, that headline is more evidence of Lambert`s mind-game skills. It`s well known to "insiders" that PL has exhorted his Squad to be lily-livered, pull out of tackles and generally wimp out v MUFC. Just to confuse them, y`know?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • he s right like him i think his team will lose to brighton to- day.

    Report this comment

    bluelight

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • I'm new to this ---who the f*** is this Ged Steroo???

    Report this comment

    superfan59

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • Fair dos. Sort of guessed it might be but confirmation appreciated :-). When I tried to "learn" German way back, all we naughty little schoolboys were keen to find rude German words so we could have a good giggle, as naughty little schoolboys are wont to do.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • PS, Swiss, took your tip & had a look at Leo. As you say, all alternative translations are "vulg" or "sl vulg"! Funnily, "Schmuck" makes it into the OED as does "Schmo" but in my little school German dictionary it is translated as "ornament or jewels". How twee is that?!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • There's already a label - it gives instructions for use. Pity the brain doesn't have one.

    Report this comment

    Ded Sterile

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • ...and you should see the tat on the Red Stooge's todger....No take that back, maybe you shouldn't. Let's just say 'I' have!

    Report this comment

    Ded Sterile

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • I bet it`s not that extended Welsh placename "Llan"- something- ending in "gogogoch" or whatever. More likely Llandudno, abbreviated to Ludo. Or Ely? Could never be Littlehampton, surely?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • Ded Sterile, now that is oxymoronic or ironic or something? Not enough room to tattoo "Littlehampton"! Could always tie on a label, I suppose?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • Ethered! Just to say that I`ve been advised by Carra Rud "insiders" that, contrary to the Headline, PL has exhorted his troops to be lily-livered, pull out of tackles and generally wimp out v MUFC. Holty, in particular, has been told to play nicely with little Rio. Mind games.....

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • I`m beginning to realise what a wonderfully rascally person Sian is. Beware, though, you have a rival in Ded Sterile! superfan59, it also goes by Sore Todge, Stereo Dog and several more. Martin a-s and Barclay Regular, was ist ein Schwanz? My little school dictionary says it`s a tail. Is this German idiom for something more risque? OTBC. PS. Brighton 3, 1p5wich 0.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • That's for me to know and you to wonder.

    Report this comment

    Sian

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • Just another w-anchor superfan59. Likes to pretend he's a City fan but doesn't have a clue. Recently dumped by a Welsh sheep after spending the night in the hills near Swansea. Probably couldn't find The Carra if it had fireworks exploding all round it. Known around these parts by several anagrammatical aliases, one of which is Red Stooge.

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • The fans must be brave too but beware the traditional Glaswegian remedies for bravery.One is called Buckfast containing vast amounts of caffeine with your alcohol which causes huge amounts of violent crime.Alternatively Glasgow has been labelled "The Heroin Capital of Europe" where generations of people have been extermiated by heroin.Of course there is always the famous Glaswegian kiss ending with a bloody nose and Jimmy Boyle to ask you if you have a good dentist before ripping your teeth out.That's not bravery,that's stupidity.OLBC.

    Report this comment

    Peter Watson

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • Ged , sie sind wirklick ein Schwanz !!

    Report this comment

    martin addams-smith

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • Oh you are a Welsh wag Sian. Great comment - what did he have tattooed on his thumbs? And is it true what he says about the tat on your buttom?

    Report this comment

    The Crab

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • I urge concentration and not giving the ball away easily.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • Can I just say it's not big and it's not clever, at least that's how I remember Mr Flaccid steroo from one of our previous encounters.

    Report this comment

    Ded Sterile

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • Yes, but I suppose there has to be something tangible to tie the label to. That rules out both brain and Schwanz, perhaps? Why don`t you exchange notes with Sian? I`m beginning to think Todge has been two-timing you both. Don Juan of the Orwell Estuary.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • I like your thinking Brewer, very apt but not enough room!

    Report this comment

    Ded Sterile

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • What's occuring? Don't tell me he's back, Mr Crab. He tried to put his finger on my buttom but I said no when I realised that he had "Portman Road" tattooed on his fingers, one letter on each finger....

    Report this comment

    Sian

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • There's already a label - it gives instructions for use. Pity the brain doesn't have one.

    Report this comment

    Ded Sterile

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

  • I think you mean Sie sind wirklich ein Schwanz and yes I agree

    Report this comment

    Barclay_Regular

    Saturday, February 25, 2012

  • Brewer, you school dictionary does not list "vulgar" words. Leo, the extremely useful on-line German dictionary lists 12 definitions of Schwanz, none of which would pass the cyber police, but also one that would, "tail".

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Sunday, February 26, 2012

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