December 13 2013 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Saturday, September 21, 2013
Johan Elmander revealed he had to build some bridges with Norwich City’s Irish contingent after helping wreck the Republic’s World Cup qualifying bid.
The Swedish international opened the scoring in his country’s recent 2-1 win in Dublin which dashed the hopes of Canaries’ midfield duo Wes Hoolahan and Anthony Pilkington making it to Brazil next summer.
Sweden followed up that win with a victory in Kazakhstan to set up a decider against Austria next month in the race for a guaranteed play-off spot.
“Yeah, I had to apologise a little bit but they didn’t say that much after the game. They were a little bit disappointed,” said City’s on-loan striker, who was joined in his country’s line-up by City defender Martin Olsson. “I was smiling and coming into the dressing room with my head high so that was a different emotion.
“We were delighted with how it went. It was good for Sweden to get the two victories and very, very important for us. Now we have the chance to go to the play-off. It does feel like maybe we have taken control of that position in the group because before the last two games it was very tight between a number of teams, but you never know in football. We have a very important game now against Austria that we need to win. It is not enough for us to get a draw. We are playing at home and that is very important. For the moment it is nothing to worry about. I am here doing my job at Norwich and when I meet up with the national team again next month that is when I will focus on them.”
City boss Chris Hughton beleives Elmander is the perfect recruit to help the likes of Leroy Fer, Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Nathan Redmond adjust to the Premier League.
“We felt with his experience he would be a good addition. If I look at the age of many of our players we have a lot of potential and what you have in Johan is a ready made player,” said Hughton. “We knew him as a player in Europe and from his time here in England before with Bolton. The good thing with Johan is that he is a player who can play in a few positions in the forward areas – as a lone striker or a withdrawn one or even on occasion in the wide areas. Everybody spoke very well about him. We watched a lot of his games in Turkey and apart from the quality he is also a current international striving to get to the World Cup.”
Chris Hughton admitted Norwich’s soft centre again contributed to their downfall as Luis Suarez inspired Liverpool to a 5-1 Premier League win on Wednesday night at Anfield.