Sunday, November 18, 2012
Norwich City are starting to show exactly what they have got in the Premier League, according to Saturday’s match-winner and former Manchester United trainee Anthony Pilkington.
The winger notched his first goal of the season with a wonderful header from Javier Garrido’s quality cross on the hour mark, to knock Sir Alex Ferguson’s Premier League leaders off the summit and record another famous Carrow Road victory for Chris Hughton’s men – having already seen off Arsenal last month.
Pilkington spent little more than a year as a 12-year-old at United’s sizeable youth set-up, before eventually working his way through the ranks at boyhood club Blackburn Rovers. And in spite his own tenuous Old Trafford connection, Pilkington was happy to enjoy three points that carry more kudos than most.
“It’s a great three points and a great night for the fans,” said Pilkington. “It’s great and just shows what the lads are all about.
“We’ve got a great squad in there and everyone believed right from the start of the season that we could win games at this level, even when we weren’t picking up points, and that is what we are starting to do now.
“Whenever you play against Manchester United, no matter who you are, it always gives you a little bit extra. It doesn’t come bigger. They are a massive club, probably the biggest club in the world. They’ve got a great squad, haven’t they. They are probably the best team in the Premier League and they will probably go on to win it. But it’s all about us tonight.
“We always knew we could pick up points in this league and that’s what we are starting to do now. We are putting in back-to-back wins and collecting points in back-to-back games, and it’s great.
“We had a few games where we were shaky but here we’ve gone on and shown what we can do and shown everyone what a great squad we have got. The boys put in another shift and we came away with a massive three points.”
Much like City’s last triumph against Sir Alex Ferguson’s men in 2005, Pilkington’s header is a goal likely to get the replay treatment for years to come.
“I’m not known for my heading but I’ll take those all day,” he smiled. “I knew Javier was going to whip the ball in so I just tried to get across my man and close my eyes… No, I got on the end of it and it went in the top corner.
“I’ve scored a header at Wembley – but heading probably isn’t my strong point. It’s probably one of my weaknesses to be fair, but if it goes in the back of the net I’m not going to complain.”
The Canaries’ work rate against United was at a level to match anything City delivered last season, while Pilkington acknowledged Hughton has ensured his Norwich squad truly believe in the quality they possess – even against the Premier League’s big hitters.
“All he as said is the boys should start believing in themselves and have a bit more confidence to go and beat teams like United and Arsenal, and that’s what the lads have done in the last six games – so we are going in the right direction and we have just beaten Manchester United,” added Pilkington. “We are keeping clean sheets against massive teams and we’re six unbeaten now (in all competitions), so it’s great to be here at the moment.
“It feels just the same as last year. You can’t beat playing in the Premier League. Last year we didn’t really get any big wins and this year we’ve got three already, so everyone is happy in there and confidence is high.”