Lambert scored his 100th goal for Saints on Sunday in defeat at Newcastle.
“Absolutely (there is a sense of pride),” Pardew told the Daily Echo. “He had only been with me six weeks and I said to him ‘you could play in the Premiership.’ “I don’t think he really believed me if I’m honest.
“I said it in a kind of strange way as I knew he’d want more money so I said ‘the next couple of years you could get there.’ “He was brilliant. He’s a real handful.
“I put him above (Grant) Holt personally. No disrespect to Grant Holt but I think Rickie’s got more about him and he’s proving that.
“100 goals is a fantastic little milestone for him.”