Steven Whittaker has plenty of honours to his name in Scottish football, and admitted the scalp of Manchester United is another that will stay with him for years to come.

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The former Rangers star has slotted seamlessly into Chris Hughton’s defensive line – to the point he is yet to experience conceding a Premier League goal in his first three top-flight performances for the Canaries.

Even the visit of the Premier League leaders to Carrow Road could not disrupt his rhythm, as City put in the performance of their lives to maintain one of their best runs among England’s elite since the Premier League’s arrival.

“Tonight was a massive result for the club, for the players as individuals to beat Manchester United – it’s a great achievement and one we’re going to remember,” said the Scotland international.

“We are on a good run at the minute and that’s a good scalp for us today and another great clean sheet, and we got the goal that won us the game.

“We had our game plan. We obviously wanted to make it hard for them with our shape and hit them on the counter attack, put them under pressure when the time was right.

“The manager has worked on that during the week and the boys knew what was needed and we have all stuck to it, and that showed in the result. We hit them on the break, put made it hard for United to create chances and we limited them.

“You do concentrate that little bit more against them, because you know if you slack off they are going to punish you. So it definitely helps you keep it tight at the back and we did that as a unit and as a squad.

“That is six unbeaten (in all competitions) and that’s great, and hopefully it will continue and the clean sheets will keep coming – because we’ve got ability in the side in forward areas, so if we keep clean sheets then we will score goals.”

From conceding five and four in consecutive games against Liverpool and Chelsea earlier in the season, it is now more than five and a half hours since John Ruddy was beaten in the Premier League. And once again the City number one proved why he is a regular in the squads of watching England boss Roy Hodgson, producing two superb saves and a truly commanding 90 minutes.

“Against the quality of United he is going to get called upon at times and towards the end when they were putting the pressure on, he stood up to anything that came his way and commanded his box, and he has done that for a few seasons now – he is a top quality goalkeeper,” added Whittaker, who was unable to catch Ruddy’s best moment of the match as he got down brilliantly to palm Ashley Young’s drive beyond his far post as the ball whistled through a crowd of players.

“I was on the ground at that point – I landed on my back and I didn’t actually see it, so I asked him at half-time and he said he saved it, so I’ll be watching Match of the Day to see what it’s like.”

The back four will also pick up the clean sheet plaudits as City keep their opponents at bay – but for Whittaker, credit should be spread further still.

“It’s not just the back four – it’s getting into shape as a team,” said the Scot. “Our midfield worked tremendously hard to shut out the spaces and that makes our job a bit easier. I thought at the end we defended our box really well, won the headers that came in and made it hard for United to create chances.”

It was not just the defensive headers that influenced the game of course, after Anthony Pilkington’s wonderful glancing effort from a Javier Garrido centre sent Carrow Road crazy.

“It’s a great header,” said Whittaker. “The boys have watched it back on the TV and he has taken it great and his movement was good, so we are chuffed for him and they are all a great bunch of lads – I think you can see that with the effort on the pitch; everyone is in it together.

“It was a great atmosphere in the ground too – and it always is when we get ourselves in the lead and with the crowd behind us, it gives us that little bit of an edge.”

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13 comments

  • Why is it when Man Utd., are well beaten and outplayed by teams such as N City the national media say that Utd., were below their best.

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    norman hall

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • Or 3-4 minutes!

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • It was great seeing how well the team kept their shape and after attacks got straight back into shape. Very well done all concerned.

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    goldie

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • At half time here the pundits were on the United poor party line - at the end of the day there was a change and an acceptance that yes Norwich did not allow United to plpay but also a degree of condemnation that with the team United had on the pitch they should have done better! Looks like United are a one man team no Rooney no spark! OTBC

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    Singapore Canary

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • norman -- c'est la vie but out here on the TV the pundits, Gordon Strachan and Dean Ashton said it was a case that Norwich didn't let Man U play their game. When doing the league round-up after the match Andy Townsend also agreed. Hoots seems to have the ability to set the team up as the results against Arsenal, Stoke, Stoke and now Man U have shown. I though it would take him longer to get a handle on the team and for the team to get up to speed with his way but I am more than glad to be proved wrong. OTBC

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    Singapore Canary

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • I agree Barry, people say they weren't at their best because if they were then man for man they have the better players. However, Utd are more than capable of turning teams over even when they aren't playing well. As everyone says, that is the mark of a good team and it is to our credit that we didn't allow that to happen and took advantage ourselves. One thing I am interested in seeing is how we will play against Man City and what that result will be. That could be a good point of comparison in our progress under Hughton as Lambert has been thrashed twice by them in City colours and again as manager of Villa. Just a thought...

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    Preston Canary

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Because the "big boys" + their chums in the media can't admit to being beaten fair + square. So they disguise it as a "bad day" by way of apology. United were as good as we allowed them to be yesterday !

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    Timbo

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • I like Whittaker......a good stopper, skilful and with a football brain.

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    Algarve Canary

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • Preston - yes against Man City will be interesting. The back four were Hoots signings and I know there have been comments about scoring but he has the defence on song, even Bassong - ok poor attempt at joke - but the whole team defends. The way the team plays as one and defends as one is like the days against Byren Munich. Whittaker I think has brought some class to the back four and he is comfortable on the ball and does not get flustered. We need to strenghthen in January, as all teams do, but I hope we can keep Hoots for more than a season or two as I honestly think he can build something really special here. OTBC

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    Singapore Canary

    Tuesday, November 20, 2012

  • Makes you wonder why they were not at their best doesn't it?

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    Swiss Canary

    Sunday, November 18, 2012

  • I agree that SAF was magnanimous in defeat. The greetings, with beaming smiles, between him and Hoots maybe showed a deep mutual respect. After all, Hoots has done a lot to be respected in his career, as a player - Club & International - coach, manager and man. I think the MOTD team were their usual faint-praise selves, specially the slippery barra boy, `Arry (QPR Manager elect, judging by his denials). I wonder if we would have seen a decent-sized highlights had MUFC wiped the floor with us? What was it, 3\4 minutes? That was a supreme team performance. CH has moved us on to a more mature and streetwise way of playing in the Prem. I still expect there`ll be the odd drubbing before the season`s out. It can happen to anyone; Spurs, Villa etc. OTBC. IHWT.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • But to his credit, SAF was magnanimous in defeat. Not sure why everyone gets upset when we don't get the praise from the media - does it actually matter as long as we are getting the points. Both SAF and the MOTD team were very positive about the City performance.

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    Barry Rasberry

    Monday, November 19, 2012

  • Oh, and I have to say that I am impressed by all of Hughton's signings so far, with the exceptions of Kane and Butterfield (who needs game time and is one for the future). Turner is really starting to come good and so is Whittaker now that he is over his injury. As for Tettey and Bassong, they both look excellent. I am glad though that there is more confidence in the team because that will enable us to cope better when the inevitable injuries take their toll.

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    Preston Canary

    Monday, November 19, 2012

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