City midfielder David Fox has paid tribute to the two managers directing traffic at The Liberty Stadium this afternoon.
City’s Paul Lambert and Swansea’s Brendan Rogers have both guided their respective teams out of the Championship and into the relative security of Premiership mid-table – both at the first time of asking, too.
Lambert, of course, has gone one better in that he took Norwich straight out of League One the season before; City’s stay in the Championship was brief at best.
Both have now taken to Premiership life like ducks to water; both could be in line for a gong or two come the end of the season on current form and fortune.
“I think they have both done brilliantly for their clubs since they’ve come here,” said the 28-year-old City playmaker. “I think Brendan got his team promoted in his first season and the Gaffer here has done it two years in a row.
“For both teams to be sat ninth and tenth in the league speaks volumes as to how well they have been doing as managers. And I think they have both got very similar ethics. They like football played in the right way and it just shows what can be achieved when you go out to play football that way.”
The Swans have, of course, gathered one or two more headlines for the manner in which they pass the life out of the ball. Fox, however, has few concerns on that front.
The Canaries are, after all, ninth not tenth going into this afternoon’s intriguing contest.
“We don’t mind that at all – we’ll just go about our own business as we have done all season,” he said.
Given the manner in which Lambert mixes up his team selection and runs a different horse for seemingly every course there is no guarantee that Fox will retain his starting slot at The Liberty. But given the open, footballing nature of the contest, it would be a slight surprise if Norwich’s best passer of the ball did not make Lambert’s starting XI.
“The game probably won’t suit me if they’ve got the ball the whole time,” he laughed. “But if we can get hold of the ball ourselves and knock it around like we can do then I’m sure it will suit us.
“They are a very good team on the ball, so we have to try and make sure that we stop them. On the other foot though, we have to make sure that when we get it, we keep it. If we keep turning it over to them, then it could be a very long afternoon for us.”
Fox is well aware how Swansea will set out their stall; just how accomplished they have become with the ball at their feet.
“They have dominated the ball against better teams than us this season,” he said, with only Manchester United coming away with all three points from South Wales.
“So we understand that they will have a lot of the ball and that’s something that we’ve worked on all week. But it is a case of when we have the ball, we have to be able to hurt them.
“And that’s what we will try and do. We’ve got pace in the team and we have got options on the counter-attack. So as long as we’re clinical when we have it, then you might only have it for ten per cent of the game – but if you score two goals with it, that’s fine.”
On the back of last weekend’s 2-0 win over Bolton, the Canaries remain just three wins away from safety.
For now, Fox is not looking any further forward than hitting that 40-point mark ASAP.
“I think someone said the other day that we’re now nearer the Champions League than we are relegation zone, but I still don’t think of it like that. We’re always looking over our shoulder and once we get to that 40-point mark then obviously you can look to see how far you can push on in the league.
“But things can turn around very dramatically and what you don’t want to do is put a result like Saturday [the 2-0 win over Bolton] to waste and go and lose your next five or six games. Staying in the league is still our main objective.”
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