Lambert wary despite Norwich's bright start

Norwich 3 Blackburn 3

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The Independent Football

Norwich City are having fun in the Premier League. So, too, Queen's Park Rangers and Swansea City. It is a vibrant and exciting time for the trio of promoted Championship clubs from last season. For them, in the land of milk and honey, life could not be sweeter.

But beware what lurks around the corner, when the novelty has worn off and the natives become restless. Football fans are a fickle bunch and can turn in an instant. When their expectations, however unreasonable, are not met, it can get downright ugly.

Paul Lambert, the Norwich City manager, is already acutely aware of the dangers that might lie ahead and cites the apparent ending of the love affair between Mick McCarthy, the Wolverhampton Wanderers manager, and some sections of the Molineux supporters as a stark warning. Lambert said: "Only 10 games have gone, everything is new, fresh and it is a challenge. There is no fear factor. But look at Wolves. What Mick has done is extraordinary but look at the reaction of their fans. It's not great to hear. But when you have such a big fan base, that can happen."

It did not turn ugly at Carrow Road on Saturday, even when Norwich trailed Blackburn Rovers 3-1 and had essentially run out of ideas, but there was a general anxiousness and uneasiness among the home crowd throughout. Still, perhaps they could replicate the late, late show exploits of last season, when they scored 12 goals in the 90th minute or later to secure an extra ten points and elevation to the top flight?

And that they did. After Bradley Johnson's deflected effort had reduced the gap to 3-2, Grant Holt thundered in a penalty in the fourth minute of stoppage time after Steven Nzonzi had been harshly ajudged to have handled. Get-out-of-jail Norwich had done it again.

It was cruel on Blackburn, who had gone ahead through a Junior Hoilett humdinger, overcome the blow of a Steve Morison equaliser and restored their advantage through excellent second-half efforts from Yakubu and Christopher Samba. They did not play like a bottom-of-the-table side, having controlled proceedings with their fluid movement, and at least moved up to 18th place with the point gained.

Steve Kean, the Blackburn manager, may have experienced the worst excesses of McCarthyism this season, with many fans at Ewood Park calling for his head from day one, but he remains an admirably stoical figure. Had his players not shown a naivety bordering on recklessness in protecting their lead, Blackburn would have won handsomely and deservedly.

"Sometimes with a young team, near the end of game, we might need to see it out a bit better," Kean said. "I was screaming at them to get the ball into the corners, to try to get a free kick or a throw-in to run the clock down. That's something we might have to look at."

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