City boss Paul Lambert admitted that the abuse suffered on his return to Colchester was water off a duck’s back – after all, he’s been involved in more than a few Old Firm clashes.
The Scot was subjected to a barrage of insults before, during and after the 5-0 City success, after controversially swapping north Essex for Norfolk in August.
But compared to 50,000 Rangers fans baying for your blood on derby day, this was nothing. Lambert can’t see what all the fuss is about.
“It will all come out in time and I know what happened when I came here (Norwich),” he commented afterwards. “And as I’ve said before, it’s an absolute honour to be here.
“If I was doing that badly at Colchester, which a lot of people think I was, why are they still going on about it after all these months?
“Today wasn’t difficult for me. I know what it’s like because I used to play up in Glasgow where half the city like you and half of them don’t.
“It wasn’t about me but I knew what was going to happen with the crowd’s reaction. I’ve had it before.”
It certainly didn’t seem like it was all new to Lambert and in truth, he relished the role of pantomime villain, jumping with delight after each of City’s five goals.
In his defence though, the 40-year-old isn’t exactly from the Rafa Benitez school of touchline celebrations.
“I’m like that all the time because I celebrate as if I still play the game. I know how fortunate I am to be here and I love the game, there’s no doubt about that.”
After an day in which everything bar Wes Hoolahan’s penalty miss went right for the visitors, the Canary chief was clearly a happy man. And first in line for praise was two-goal hero Chrissy Martin.
The City striker’s two first-half efforts displayed finishing of a Premier League standard and Lambert was highly impressed with the contribution of his front three – four if you include super-sub Oli Johnson.
“We were lethal. As I’ve said before, Chrissy Martin at 21 years of age – what a terrific finisher he is,” continued the Norwich boss.
“Grant Holt does what Grant does best and he’s been brilliant for me. And Oli coming on as well – he’s starting to be a cult hero with that crowd.
“Wes has had a virus to be fair to him, he wasn’t feeling well on Thursday and it was a big call for him to train yesterday. But some of his football was excellent.”
The Canary success – coupled with Leeds’ shock 2-0 defeat at Exeter – means that Lambert’s men now sit just three points behind the Yorkshire giants.
The Whites have one game in hand but if City notch up yet another win on Saturday, they will find themselves at the League One summit as United are in FA Cup action at Tottenham.
But Lambert issued a word of warning before anyone gets carried away. There’s a long way to go…
“That was never going to be a defining game; there are about 400 matches left. All we tried to do is come here and get another three points and eat away at Leeds’ lead.
“There are still some really strong teams in this league but at this minute in time we’re certainly playing well enough and picking up points.
“All we can do is eat away at their lead, I think they’ll have a couple of games in hand but you’ve still got to win those. We’re certainly playing really well though.”
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