Paul Lambert: Ex-Wolves boss could have been 'up there' too with Nuno's spending power
Former Wolves boss Paul Lambert insists that he could have been as successful as Nuno Espirito Santo at Molineux this season if he too had been allowed the same sort of investment in players.
The ex-Celtic, Borussia Dortmund and Scotland international made just two signings in his seven months at the helm as Wolves head coach.
Since his summer splurge, Nuno's Wolves have gone clear in the Championship.
"I'm pretty sure I'd have been up there too," Lambert told BBC WM.
"I knew if we could revamp it in the summertime and get the players in, indicated by the sort of money that they have now, we wouldn't have been far away.
"I knew the size of the club. The club is huge. They have great people there and brilliant supporters. Everything is going for them."
Wolves in the transfer market in 2017
- In January, Paul Lambert brought in winger Ben Marshall from Blackburn Rovers for an undisclosed fee and Andi Weimann on loan from Derby County. Wolves also turned Helder Costa's August loan signing into a pre-arranged more permanent move for a then club-record fee.
- Since Lambert was allowed to leave at the end of last season, Wolves have signed Ruben Neves for a reported Championship record of £15.8m, Roderick Miranda (£2m), Barry Douglas (£1m), John Ruddy (free transfer), Ryan Bennett (free transfer), Will Norris (undisclosed fee), Willy Boly (loan), Leo Bonatini (loan), Diogo Jota (loan), Ruben Vinagre (loan) and the injured Phil Ofosu-Ayeh (free transfer).
- Wolves have balanced their books to an extent with an estimated £10m raised from the sales of Nouha Dicko to Hull City (£3.4m), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson to Reading (£3m), Dave Edwards to Reading (£990,000), along with George Savile and Jed Wallace to Millwall for undisclosed fees.
Halfway stage in Championship
Going into this Saturday's home date with former Wolves boss Mick McCarthy's Ipswich Town, Wolves head coach Nuno looks like following the example of Dave Jones in 2003 and McCarthy in 2009 by becoming the third man to lead the men from Molineux to the Premier League.
They sit four points clear of Cardiff City at the top - eight points better off than third-placed Bristol City.
But, given the quality of their football, their productivity in front of goal (42 goals in 22 games) and their potential to spend again in the January window, Lambert says they should be satisfied only with being crowned champions - just as McCarthy's side were eight years ago.
"I'm delighted the team are doing well," he said. "It doesn't matter how much money you've got, you've still got to win games and they've done that. But I hope they go up as champions. Football is about winning things."
As for his own future, having turned down two offers to return to management at club level, and having also been linked with the Scotland vacancy following Gordon Strachan's exit, the 48-year-old Glaswegian is weighing up his next job opportunity carefully.
Having actually not been that surprised by his removal at Molineux in late May, the former Livingston, Wycombe Wanderers, Colchester United, Norwich City, Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers boss has certainly not been put off by his Wolves experience.
"I knew things were obviously going on," he said. "I was not that surprised. There were major changes.
"But I still love the pressure of being a manager. I love the adrenalin rush you get when you wake up on a Saturday morning."
Paul Lambert was talking to BBC WM as part of their Sporting Review of 2017, to be broadcast on Boxing Day (18:00 GMT).