Paul Lambert saluted a thoroughly professional performance after Norwich’s record-breaking 12th away win of the campaign at Bristol Rovers this afternoon.
The comfortable 3-0 success also takes City to 95 points, one better than the 94 gained when Nigel Worthington’s men lifted the Championship trophy in 2004, and they were well worth their win.
The Canaries went into the break two goals to the good after Chris Martin and Oli Johnson capitalised on a shaky home backline and Stephen Hughes profited on some more woeful Rovers defending to tap home a third in the 67th minute.
And the Norwich boss was a very happy man afterwards. Today’s performance will certainly make the mammoth journey back to Norfolk a little easier ahead of that final game at home to Carlisle next Saturday.
“I thought we were excellent from start to finish,” said Lambert, speaking to BBC Radio Norfolk afterwards. “We changed it around a little and I thought we were great – it was a great performance and a great win.
“I told them not to come here and showboat because if we did that, I thought we could get beaten heavily. Too many people come and watch us so the lads did it right and we could have won by more.
“I’m delighted and it was another big win; another away win. With the support we’ve got, we owe it to them to try and win as many games as we can.”
With promotion and the title wrapped up, Lambert reshuffled his pack a little, with Matt Gill, Stephen Elliott and Simon Lappin coming in for Korey Smith, Darel Russell and the injured Grant Holt.
Gill, especially, put in a solid showing and it will please the Canary chief that his fringe players can come in and perform admirably, especially when some of them have been warming the bench all season.
“I thought he [Gill] was excellent. I know the pressure is off but he hasn’t played for a long time and his performance was excellent.
“They don’t really need to prove anything to me as I’ve had them for about 10 months now but it’s never easy sitting on the bench and Gilly is a great lad.
“He’s a terrific professional but he’s found it hard to get in due to Darel, Korey and Simon Lappin’s form. But collectively, the group have been terrific.”
With almost 1,800 fans making the long trek west, it was a remarkable turnout from the City faithful, especially considering it was a ‘meaningless’ game.
And Lambert was happy to give them something else to cheer, on a day when results elsewhere mean there is a whopping 12-point gap to Leeds in second place.
“They are absolutely terrific – I can’t thank them enough for what they have given me personally and what they have done for the players.
“Equally, the players have given the supporters everything they have got and when you cast your mind back to August, I don’t think many people would have stood there thinking that this would happen.
“But the fans have been an absolute credit to the football club.”
Lambert also reiterated his desire to strengthen the squad in the summer and he’ll be keen to take the momentum through to the second tier. Because as we saw today, whatever the fixture, when you’ve got that winning habit, you can really go places.
“As I’ve said before, we’ll try and get some lads in to give the current group a hand. We’ll try and make the club stronger and better and do well up there [in the Championship].”
City: Forster; Spillane, Doherty, Nelson (Askou 73), Rose; Gill, Hughes, Lappin (McVeigh 73); McNamee; Martin, Elliott (Johnson 46). Subs not used: Rudd, Drury, Russell, Smith.