Aston Villa manager Paul Lambert has hit out at Norwich chairman Alan Bowkett for going public over the details of his departure from Carrow Road at the end of last season.
Bowkett claimed at a Norwich fans’ forum this week that Lambert was asking for £2 million compensation for unfair dismissal and breach of contract under the terms of his deal with the Canaries. He reportedly said the manner of Lambert’s departure was “no surprise because he has walked out on every club he has ever managed”.
But Lambert yesterday revealed Norwich, who he led to two successive promotions, are also suing him over his departure. A Premier League managers’ tribunal is due to decide on the matter and Lambert is disappointed Bowkett has decided to bring the issue into the public domain.
He said: “I’m disappointed what senior officials at Norwich have said in relation to myself. What Norwich haven’t stated publicly is that they are actually suing me.
“I’ll let him [Bowkett] say what he has got to say and we’ll see what happens. It is before the Premier League managers’ tribunal at which the LMA (League Managers Association) are acting on my behalf. That’s the way it is at the moment and it is inappropriate for me to comment anymore and be disrespectful to the tribunal.
“I don’t know when it is going to happen. I’m too busy trying to win games to worry.”
Lambert would prefer to concentrate on tomorrow’s Barclays Premier League encounter at Tottenham when he has to decide whether to restore former Spurs striker Darren Bent to his starting line-up. Bent admitted to being disappointed at being left out of the starting line-up against West Brom but responded in the right manner by coming off the substitute’s bench to score the equaliser in a 1-1 draw.
Meanwhile, Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson admitted he is happy not to see defender Rio Ferdinand back in the England squad.
England manager Roy Hodgson has overlooked the United veteran for a recall despite needing to find a replacement in his latest squad for the now retired John Terry.
Ferguson was unwilling to discuss the manner in which this was communicated by Hodgson – who told punters on a London Underground train before the official announcement – as he met media to preview United’s game at Newcastle this weekend. But the Scot made clear he personally was pleased the 33-year-old was not being subjected to the extra international workload.
Ferguson said: “I am not going into that but I am happy anyway because I think at his age he should be protecting himself as best he can. Hopefully by doing that he will be far more important to me than England.”
Ferguson’s side travel to Tyneside tomorrow with the manager looking for a reaction similar to that which followed defeat at Newcastle last season.
United crashed to a 3-0 defeat when they visited the Sports Direct Arena in the Barclays Premier League in January but they responded with a run of 11 wins and a draw which – at the time – made them title favourites.
Now Ferguson is looking for his team to be similarly inspired as they take on the Magpies on the back of last week’s 3-2 loss to Tottenham. Ferguson said: “In the second half of the season we had to do something, when you lose a game you have to do something.
“We lost a game to Tottenham and we have to recover again. Hopefully we can get the result on Sunday.”