City boss Paul Lambert hailed his ‘team’ after victory at Carlisle was enough to propel the Canaries into the play-off zone.
A 1-0 Norwich success, coupled with Swindon’s 1-1 County Ground draw with Millwall, put City into sixth place for the first time this season.
It represents a remarkable turnaround after the hectic start to 2009-10 which saw pitch invasions, record home defeats and manager sackings.
And speaking after Wes Hoolahan’s 42nd minute strike was enough to earn them the points, Lambert was keen to praise the group as a whole. This City side are all mucking in together…
“The onus is on the home side to make the running; it is the same for us at our place,” the Scot told BBC Radio Norfolk, after the Canaries withstood plenty of late pressure.
“But as good as we’ve been going forward lately we did it defensively today. Collectively as a group we were terrific.
“Carlisle are a good side and we knew it was going to be a tough place to come. But we’ve done excellently to get through it. I’m absolutely delighted.”
As the home side piled forward in search of an equaliser, with handball appeals aplenty, the Canary rearguard had to be at their best to hold out.
But in truth, the visitors could have wrapped up the contest before it got to that. Korey Smith, Hoolahan – who was a constant threat to the Cumbrians all afternoon – and Chris Martin all had decent chances.
And while Lambert admitted they could have made life easier, he again stood by his troops. This was a massive three points and just the sort of game City would have lost in years gone by.
“Yes, we should of [scored a second]. We’ve had a few chances and on another given day they go in but the players have been a real credit to the football club.”
For the 1,000-strong travelling army, there was a boost before kick-off with Hoolahan, Grant Holt and Darel Russell being passed fit to play.
And the Canary chief paid tribute to his walking wounded, with most of them having hardly trained all week.
“Wes had a knock on his foot and missed the game in midweek, as did a number of them, but they’ve come back in and not done much training so this is a terrific three points.”
If you’d have said City would be sat in the play-off spots in mid-October, after the early season upheaval, most would have called for the men in white coats.
But while Lambert was very keen to keep both feet firmly on the ground, he admitted that the turnaround was a way of giving something back to the club’s long-suffering fans.
“Yes, considering where we were, considering what has happened to the club, we’ve done well,” the former Celtic hero continued.
“There has been a change of manager and then we had what happened on the first day of the season, with fans running onto the pitch.
“Everything was going against us so it’s great to give the fans something back at the minute. But we’ll try and push on. You win nothing in October.
“We look at each given game and try our very best to win football matches.”
And last but not least, there were also special mentions for Adam Drury – who flew up to the north west yesterday morning after the birth of his second child on Friday – and Academy youngster George Francomb, who made his league debut at right-back.
“It speaks volumes for Adam. He’s been terrific for me since I’ve been at Norwich and him being here today was a big plus.
“We had young George [Francomb] as well and even though he looked tired towards the end, to put him into this environment – he’s done great.”