City boss Paul Lambert hailed the returning Gary Doherty as everything finally clicked into place in last night’s Carrow Road mauling of Leyton Orient.
An utterly dominant performance finally produced the thumping they’ve been threatening for a while.
And the 4-0 scoreline certainly didn’t flatter the Canaries – the only surprise was that it took until the 75th minute for the deadlock to be broken.
Chris Martin, Grant Holt, Michael Spillane and Jamie Cureton sealed the win that took City to within two points of the top six.
But it was the return of Doherty from the cold that was one of the major talking points after he capped a solid performance by walking off with the man-of-the-match champagne.
“It was a big game for him. I spoke to him yesterday and to be fair he came through it. He did great,” Lambert said afterwards.
“When a club is in demise for four or five years you don’t need to be Einstein to sit here and think that there has been something wrong.
“As a manager you have to make decisions and the decision was we had to try and change it. And to be fair the lads that came in, they have done great.”
But the Scot hinted that his decision to let the Irishman leave could now change. Football’s a funny old game as they say.
“You earn the right to be round and about the place. Whether Doc’s situation changes you have to wait and see,” he continued.
“He has given me a problem, of course. Everybody does when they play well – they give the manager a problem and the manager has to pick a team to win games.”
But while he was keen to praise Doherty, Lambert was also quick to acknowledge the contribution of others – especially Martin, whose goal opened the floodgates and brought great relief to the Canary nation.
“Chrissy’s first goal was terrific – one thing with Chrissy Martin, he can finish. I’ve seen that in training loads of time.
“You tend to forget he’s only a young lad. His goal was a big, big goal, a big moment in the game and a big, big finish.
“Grant’s goal was brilliant and Spillane – I don’t know where he’s got that one from. I’m also delighted for Jamie, coming off the bench.
“Being an experienced pro it is never easy, but it was a terrific finish. And I thought Hoolahan was unplayable tonight, definitely unplayable, but Wes has got that in is make-up.”
It was a good night all round for the Canary faithful and Lambert believes his side are on the right track after some impressive recent performances.
And by giving the O’s a real hiding, the rest of League One will be well aware that City are heading in the right direction.
“I think each and every game that passes we are slowly but surely getting there,” he said. “We’re not going to play well every single time, but the performances against Charlton and Gillingham were different from what you saw there, because we had to stick at it.
“But the great thing is the lads are giving me everything they have got and that is all I can ask for. We have done great.
“You wish people would actually realise the club was battered and bruised from relegation and then getting hit by Colchester, losing its manager and the turnaround of a lot of players.”
And the Scot was certainly delighted with the way his men went about their business last night in front of nearly 24,000 at Carrow Road – the first 10 minutes apart.
“I thought after the first 10 minutes we were excellent. We started not the way you want but after that we were excellent in attacking play and the football we played was terrific.”
“I have great belief they are going to create something. With the lads we have got you just think somebody is going to create something.”