Norwich manager Paul Lambert praised the spirit of his side after they held off late Sunderland pressure to record a hard-earned 2-1 Barclays Premier League win at Carrow Road.

Centre-back Leon Barnett put the Canaries, who had won at Bolton last week, in front on 31 minutes after winger Elliott Bennett skipped into the right side of the penalty area.

Wales forward Steve Morison powered in a bullet header at the start of the second half after the Black Cats were again caught napping at the back, before Kieran Richardson set up a tense finale when he drilled in a late consolation. "They are young and seem to be bonding really well at the minute and that is testament to themselves," Lambert said.

"I think that comes from where this club is - in the Norfolk area, there's not much you can do here other than travel nine hours to get somewhere.

"You have got to hang about with each other, so I think that certainly helps you. Home form is going to crucial for us, and if we can keep this place with the feeling we have got and the crowd behind us, then I think we will do all right."

Lambert, who has overseen successive promotions from npower League One since taking charge two seasons ago, added: "When a team scores with five minutes to go, it puts you on the back foot, especially when you are up against this type of quality player. It is really tough, you know from a mistake you are going to get punished and I am delighted the lads saw it through."

Norwich head to Manchester United next weekend, where Lambert believes his men can put in a good account of themselves.

He said: "The quality of the players and teams you are up against is extremely high, and I knew if we could win this one, then we would go to Old Trafford a bit more buoyant than just going up there and getting turned over."

There were, though, little up sides for Sunderland boss Steve Bruce. Despite chances for Nicklas Bendtner and substitute Connor Wickham - who headed straight at the Norwich keeper from six yards - the Black Cats boss accepted the showing was just not up to standard.

He said: "If I am being honest, we didn't play well enough. There were too many individual poor performances and we kept giving the ball away cheaply. We rallied at the end and started getting the ball up quickly, but we didn't perform. We had too many international players who played badly."

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Topics:
Sunderland
Norwich City
Football
League One
Bolton Wanderers
Leon Barnett
Premier League
Steve Bruce
Manchester United
Steve Morison
Elliott Bennett
Kieran Richardson
Nicklas Bendtner
Connor Wickham