Norwich City boss Paul Lambert - Grant Holt so much more than an old fashioned No 9
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Grant Holt has long written his own scripts at Norwich City – but Paul Lambert felt the latest chapter did not deserve to end on a sour note.
City’s captain clinically drew the Canaries level after Wolves’ wide player Matt Jarvis had nudged the strugglers in front a minute earlier.
Holt then calmly drilled a penalty past Wayne Hennessey prior to the interval, but a second booking for a late lunge on Michael Kightly following an earlier tangle with Roger Johnson left the hosts to navigate a frantic closing passage with ten men.
Lambert conceded he was non-plussed over the reason for Holt’s first yellow card, but the Scot felt his number nine was playing a high stakes game when he tried to make up for his initial misplaced pass.
“I think the first one is a foul against him, so I don’t know what the referee has done there,” said Lambert.
“With the second, I felt he had won the ball but when you go to ground you run the risk when you have already been booked. I felt it was harsh, I really did.
“If you have been booked the first time then you know you can’t go to ground like that. In saying that, from where I was standing I thought he had won the ball and maybe the referee was too quick to send him off. I’ve not spoken to him about it, but the first one was a free-kick for Grant.I still debate the first one. I wasn’t sure at first. Someone in the dug out area said, ‘I think he has booked Grant,’ but I don’t know why he has done it.”
Lambert preferred to dwell on a first half brace from his fellow Hall of Famer, which moved Holt inside the top ten on the club’s all-time record goalscorer list.
“I thought the first goal was a great finish because it is never easy when you see the whites of the goalkeeper’s eyes coming toward you, but it was a brilliant finish,” he said.
“It’s never easy when the goalkeeper’s coming out at you and you’ve got to lift it over him and do things like that. For the penalty he has got to hold his nerve.
“I think it can be misconstrued when you talk about an old-fashioned number. He’s got the ability to play the game. His career’s been up and down and he was in the lower reaches, but the last three years, I think it has been an incredible high for him, as it has for a number of lads, and he’s getting the rewards for all that hard work, effort, graft, disappointments, knocks, all that.
“He came through it, the same as everybody else in there and they’ve been a credit to the football club.”
Lambert insisted Norwich were full value for a first Premier League win since beating Swansea at the Liberty Stadium last month.
“I’m over the moon to win. It’s a massive win for us,” he said. “I thought we deserved to win the game. Wolves are probably the same as Wigan and finding it easier to play away from home at the minute.
“You look at the Wigan result (against Liverpool) and those teams are fighting for their lives so I knew it would be difficult. It takes a big effort to go and turn it around again and that was excellent. I thought some of the football in the first half was superb. I really did.
“We passed it really well. It was a different system and they adapted to it. Football is a strange game, you can play well and you get beat and maybe you don’t hit the same heights again and end up winning.”