Howson is like Iniesta claims Norwich boss
Published 19:11 07/04/12 By MirrorFootball
Norwich manager Paul Lambert likened Jonny Howson to Barcelona maestro Andres Iniesta after watching the Canaries midfielder inspire his new team to a vital draw over Everton at Carrow Road.
Howson signed for Norwich from npower Championship side Leeds in January and has had little trouble stepping up a division, easily slotting in to Lambert's starting XI.
The 23-year-old opened his Canaries scoring account this afternoon by slotting home a Wes Hoolahan cross to equalise Nikica Jelavic's opener.
The Yorkshireman was a thorn in the Toffees' side throughout the game, which ended at 2-2 after Grant Holt stole a point for the Norfolk club with 14 minutes left after Jelavic had scored his second.
Lambert, whose side reached the safety yardstick of 40 points with today's result, was so delighted with his new midfielder's performance he compared his display to one of those of Barcelona and Spain star Iniesta.
"It was one of the best midfield performances I've ever seen," former Borussia Dortmund midfielder Lambert said. "I couldn't pass it like him.
"At times he passed it like Iniesta.
"He's an all-rounder and I'm delighted with his contribution."
The game looked destined to be a drab affair in the opening quarter before it sprung to life when Jelavic poked Everton ahead with a majestic flick from close range.
Both teams then embarked on some attacking play in an end-to-end encounter, with Jelavic cleverly turning home a second following Howson's equaliser.
Holt continued to press his claims for an England call-up by converting Aaron Wilbraham's cross late on and Norwich were unlucky not to grab a winner in the dying minutes after throwing everything at the seventh-placed Toffees.
Lambert said: "It was a brilliant game, as good as I've seen in my time here.
"Considering the calibre of the team we were playing against, it was a brilliant display.
"It was relentless at times. We played with enthusiasm and hunger. We had a lot of the ball and we showed we have an end product to our game."
Few would have predicted Norwich would have reached the 40-point mark that is usually associated with safety with six games to spare following their promotion last summer.
The Canaries are 12 points clear of danger and look more likely to finish in the top half of the table than in the relegation zone, but their manager still thinks his team cannot afford to think they are safe just yet.
Lambert said: "I won't believe we are safe until somebody tells me it's over."
Jelavic's presence up front caused Norwich havoc throughout this afternoon's game and his double will do much to boost confidence in the Merseysiders' ranks ahead of Saturday's FA Cup semi-final against Liverpool.
"Jelavic scored two really good goals," Everton boss David Moyes said.
"He's come in and made a big difference to us. We've been needing that type of centre-forward - somebody who can score, lead the line and threaten the opposition and he's certainly been doing that.
"He's a steely character with real presence and he sees scoring as part of his job. He also helps to link us up. He's given all the players a massive boost.
"That's what happens when you bring in a player who scores regularly.
"We couldn't score in the first half of the season but he makes us look as if we are going to do that more often."
Moyes was looking for his team to secure their first sequence of three straight league wins this term, but concedes Everton were lucky to come away with a point after Norwich's late pressure.
"It's disappointing we weren't able to hold out but they put us under a lot of pressure," the Scot said.
"We didn't really get to grips with their change of system. Norwich could have had a third goal."