x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Paul Lambert is ready for Premier League challenge

The Scot is relishing the chance to test himself at the highest level after leading Norwich City back to the Premier League.

Norwich City celebrate promotion after the final whistle against Portsmouth on Monday.
Norwich City celebrate promotion after the final whistle against Portsmouth on Monday.

Paul Lambert is relishing the chance to test himself at the highest level after leading Norwich City back to the Premier League.

Lambert has made himself one of the hottest properties in management having guided a team of players plucked from lower league clubs such as Gillingham, Colchester United, Peterborough and Brighton & Hove Albion into the top flight.

The 41-year-old has managed in Scotland with Livingston, League Two at Wycombe Wanderers and has just swept through League One and the Championship in two seasons with Norwich.

And he has backed his side to hold their own among the elite next season.

"Everyone knows it's the best league in Europe," he said.

"You see the teams and quality of players in it - I've never been involved in it, I never played in it - but I don't need to be Einstein to sit here and think 'it's going to be brilliant for us'.

"It will be great. The lads are going to enjoy it.

"However, if we are playing Manchester United one weekend and then Arsenal on a Tuesday I might give a different answer. But it sounds quite good

"The players wouldn't have done this if they weren't good players."

Simeon Jackson's 50th-minute header sealed a 1-0 win at Portsmouth on Monday night and, after Cardiff City lost 3-0 at home to Middlesbrough earlier in the day, clinched second spot in the Championship.

Crucially, it has also secured a windfall of around £60 million (Dh372m) for a club who were close to going into administration less than two years ago.

Lambert guided City to the League One title last term and admitted: "The main objective this season was to survive.

"With the state of the finances, hopefully what has happened now has given the club the financial backing.

"It wasn't that long ago the chairman was indicating that there very nearly wasn't going to be a Norwich City."

It could get even better for the Canaries with the leaders Queen's Park Rangers, who won promotion on Saturday, facing a possible points deduction on Friday as the English Football Association (FA) discuss the controversial transfer of Alejandro Faurlin.

"Whether we get the opportunity to win the league we'll wait and see," Lambert said.

"Would I like to win the league? Absolutely. I don't just want a T-shirt, I'd rather have a trophy.

"We can't do any more other than win our last game against Coventry. We can't influence an FA hearing.

"What will happen will happen - but the main thing is we are up."