City boss Paul Lambert was full of praise for his troops yesterday after they came from two goals down against league leaders Charlton.
To be fair, the Addicks shaded the first-half and went in 2-1 up, but it was all Norwich after the break and in truth, they should have claimed all three points.
As an attacking unit, the Canaries were impressive, with the returning Wes Hoolahan pulling the strings from a position behind Grant Holt.
And as far as Lambert is concerned, a point was the very, very least his men deserved. To come away with nothing would have been scandalous.
“We started the game brilliantly and I don’t think we deserved to go a goal down,” he said afterwards. “To then go 2-0 down was tough but I thought the lads were terrific.
“Since I’ve been here the effort and the work rate has been excellent. And I thought the performance was colossal.
“I thought Holt was a handful all game, him and Hoolahan were excellent and I thought Darel Russell did well as well.
“Darel hasn’t really trained or kicked a ball in earnest due to his calf but I thought he was exceptional.”
One thing the Scot wasn’t so happy with, however, was the challenge on Holt in the first-half which left the Carrow Road crowd calling for a red card.
Nicky Bailey appeared to kick out at the City captain and even Addicks boss Phil Parkinson admitted afterwards that it was a yellow card.
And afterwards, Lambert called for greater consistency from the referees. He certainly isn’t having much luck from the officials since his arrival in Norfolk.
“If Jens gets a booking for a shoulder charge, how is that not anything?” he said, short and to the point. He was, however, very happy that Holt’s equaliser was allowed to stand.
Parkinson was adamant that the summer signing committed a foul on goalkeeper Elliott in nodding home Chris Martin’s cross.
But while admitting that it would be chalked off more often than not, Lambert was happy it was a perfectly legitimate goal. It’s certainly about time City had the rub of the green.
“I thought Grant got there first. Nine times out of 10, goalkeepers get those decisions. But to be fair to theirs, I thought he kept them in it.
“Holt was as robust as ever. He might not be the greatest player finesse-wise. But for work ethic, commitment and desire, I’d rather have him than not – fantastic.”
Another player who the Canary chief was keen to praise was Korey Smith and as good as Hoolahan was, the sponsor’s man of the match award should really have gone to the 18-year-old.
He covered every single blade of grass and showed maturity beyond his years. The Hatfield youngster just keeps getting better and better.
“He was absolutely brilliant,” Lambert beamed. “I’m never quite sure how far to go with praising young kids. The next think you’ll know he’ll be driving a Mercedes, with his socks over his knees and four earrings on.
“But he has done brilliantly. I’m asking an awful lot of him and if we had more experienced lads, he might not have got as many games. However, since I’ve been here, he’s been absolutely terrific.”
However, while the City boss was clearly satisfied at the way his charges stood up to the league leaders, he warned that they are far from the finished article.
“The fans here are unbelievable but it’s had too much disappointment in recent years. And when you’re on a losing streak, people just expect you to lose.
“If we can get lads in to help, and with the fan base, we’ll be up there. We’ve got a big squad and when you look at the back of the programme you need an abacus to work out how many are on there.
“But there are 10 or 12 young kids who are nowhere near ready for first-team football. One or two might fluctuate around it but we need some players who know the game.
“We might have to go down the loan route but mistakes have been made in the past and it can be dangerous.”
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