Norwich chief Paul Lambert vented his frustration at last night’s referee, as the Canaries fell short on their Championship return.
Although the City boss wasn’t too impressed with his lacklustre defence either, after lacklustre defending for all three of Watford’s goals in their 3-2 defeat, he saved the real criticism for the man in the middle..
Lambert’s main bone of contention was with the part he played in the Hornets’ third, which proved to be a real killer after Andrew Crofts had thrown the Canaries a lifeline to make the score 2-1.
There seemed to be a clear foul on Michael Nelson in midfield, but Nigel Miller waved play on and the rest, as they say, is history, with Danny Graham grabbing his second with a neat finish into John Ruddy’s net.
I think it’s fair to say that the Durham official won’t be appearing on Lambert’s Christmas card list any time soon.
“It was definitely a free-kick,” he told he media immediately afterwards. “The lads had to regroup at half-time and to be fair to them, they did that.
“We were on the ascendency but the third goal was definitely a mistake by the referee. Some you get and some you don’t and you have to pick yourself up and go again.
“I thought we were decent in the second-half but their third goal has definitely taken the wind out of our sails.”
To give Malky’s men credit, they were excellent throughout and in the first-half especially, the Hornets looked like an extremely sharp unit.
City were chasing shadows during spells of the opening period and to many observers, it looked as if this was a Norwich team still finding their feet.
After all, there were six players making their competitive debut in a Canary shirt and it may just take a little while for it all to gel.
Lambert, however, doesn’t necessarily buy into that particular argument…
“I think for a club of this size, you’ve got to hit the ground running because of the amount of people that come and watch you.
“If you are here, it’s because I think you are good enough so I don’t think it was that. I thought we played well in the second-half, created some decent chances and got back into the game.
“I don’t want to be too analytical about it as that breeds negativity and I don’t want to do that. We’ve got a chance to rectify it on Tuesday and that’s what we’ll try and do.”
As for the Grant Holt, the City chief revealed that he is still a way off full fitness, with last year’s goal machine not playing a major part in training this week.
The former Forest man came on for the last 18 minutes and looked lively, although it could be a week or two before we see him in from the start.
“Grant hasn’t done any training as such – he’s only done bits and bobs with the physio and fitness coach. Whether he’s fit enough to start, I don’t know.”