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May, 4, 2013

No happy reunion for Lambert

Paul Lambert admits he is still smarting from being given the Carrow Road cold shoulder as he prepares to make his second return to Norwich as Aston Villa manager.

• Blog: Lambert's date with destiny

The Scot quit Norfolk amid acrimony last summer to take over at Villa and was unimpressed by the welcome back he received behind the scenes when his new club won handsomely there in a mid-season Capital One Cup tie.

And, in the build-up to this weekend's League meeting of the clubs, he has made it clear he is indifferent to whether Norwich win their own Premier League survival fight.

Asked what the reception was like from the people he used to work for, he said: "It wasn't great, put it that way. But that's football."

Pushed a little further on the fact that his departure led to legal action, he added: "Things happened there that should never have happened. But the case is finished now, which I'm delighted about. Some of the things were ridiculous. Maybe one day [I'll speak about it] when I'm about 80. Maybe then people will know the truth of what happened."

There's a theme developing in this press conference … Lambert is being quizzed over and over about what sort of treatment he received when he went back in December and what it might be like on one of the season's final Saturdays. His answers are short and a little evasive but the message is coming through …

Did people avoid him? "Nah, it's all right. Just certain things, it's all right." And was he hurt by it: "No, not really. I don't get caught up in all that. If people don't like me, they don't like me. If they want to shake my hand, they'll shake their hand.

"It's not about people shunning me or me saying hello to people. It's about my team and our supporters coming to watch us. They're what concern us." Last question then, for now … was it a shame that his flying of the Canaries nest ended so acrimoniously? "I've got my own thoughts on that."

Lambert may still be bristling at his treatment since he left but he has enough fond memories of his time in Norfolk as to avoid making this a particularly hostile occasion.

"I've got a lot of respect for Norwich City as a football club," he added. "There are some really good people there and I had three great years there. I've a lot of time for people at Norwich.

"I've got nothing but gratitude to that football club. It was a good time. I never punched my fist in the air when we played there before, nor the other night and not even against Stoke when Matty Lowton scored. I never did at Norwich. I've got too much respect for the fans at Norwich. They were great to me.

"There's people there I'll say hello to and Chris (Hughton) is a great guy. But we'll go there to try and win. My job is here. I don't try and change anything for any other club. Fans can sing or do what they want.

"It's all about us now. There's no sentiment in football."

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