New Norwich City approach works well for Bradley Johnson

Bradley Johnson celebrates his first goal of the season. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images Bradley Johnson celebrates his first goal of the season. Picture: Paul Chesterton / Focus Images

Monday, November 5, 2012
10:53 AM

Norwich City midfielder Bradley Johnson believes the Canaries are finally reaping the benefits of a more defensive approach after grinding out victory at home to Stoke City on Saturday.

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Johnson’s impressive header just before the break separated the two sides but City’s rearguard action in the second half was equally important in gaining the three points.

The former Leeds man hailed the performance of the back four, who had to withstand Michael Turner and Javier Garrido going off through injury in the second period.“We’ve been working on the training pitch to stop conceding so many goals from last year,” he said. “Last year we had that motto ‘You score, we score’. We look to close games out now and the fewer attempts we give to the opposition the better.

“The back four played terrific today – Turner has come in and been terrific with Bassong. We’ve been working on that and hopefully we can get many more clean sheets this year.”

Given Stoke’s aerial approach the match was never likely to be a classic and so it proved. There were some heart-stopping moments in the second half when substitute Kenwyne Jones had chances to draw his side level but City managed to hold firm as a result of the character that exists within the ranks, according to Johnson.

“It’s hard and it takes determination and work rate throughout the whole team to stop them,” he said. “Stoke are really good at putting the pressure on in the final third and when Crouchy is up there he is going to win the majority of headers.

“But our team ethic paid off today and we’ve got that never-say-die attitude and we will see where it takes us.”

Johnson revealed the management team have been working hard on City’s set-pieces this season and was delighted to see their work bear fruit just before half-time. Johnson rose highest to flick Robert Snodgrass’ enticing free-kick beyond Asmir Begovic and the midfielder gained extra satisfaction from beating Stoke at one of their perceived strengths.

“To get a goal against Stoke from a set-piece, who are terrific from set-pieces themselves, is great for us but at the end of the day we got three points and that’s all that matters.

“I’m not usually in the box for set-pieces but the gaffer has told me to get in there and we’ve been working on it this week. I’ve been working on the movement and Snods has found me from the free-kick and I managed to just guide it in. It’s always nice to score but at the end of the day we want to shore things up at the back and stop conceding so much.

“My game is to break play up and help out the back four and we’ve got great forwards in our team who will always score goals for us. If I don’t score then I’m sure someone else will.”

Stoke boss Tony Pulis was adamant after the match that the free-kick that led to the Johnson’s goal should never have been awarded. Andy Wilkinson was adjudged to have clipped Snodgrass on the edge of the penalty area but the Potters’ chief thought the referee had been conned.

However, Johnson leapt to the defence of his team-mate, insisting Snodgrass would only go down if he felt contact from the defender.

“I wasn’t that far up the pitch to see it! But I think Snods is a tricky winger and if he goes down then he’s not going to dive – it was a foul.”

Heavy defeats by Fulham and Liverpool suddenly seem like a lifetime ago for the Canaries’ fans and Johnson believes his team-mates are reaping the benefits of all the hard work put in at Colney.

“It shows the character that we’ve got in this team,” he said. “They weren’t good results against Liverpool and away to Fulham but we’ve bounced back from that now and we’ve put things right on the training pitch and it’s paying off for us now.”

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13 comments

  • I agree that we do need a striker. I think we were rumoured to be after either DJ Campbell or Cameron Jerome. To be honest I am not sure I fancy either of them. What about Charlie Austin? 23 years old, smacking them in whilst in an average Burnley side and he is quite tall at 1.88m. Not sure how much he would cost though.

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    Preston Canary

    Monday, November 5, 2012

  • Agree, Preston, ref Campbell and Jerome. I don`t think I`ve seen Austin play but he crops up on the goalscoring front alright. 1.88m, is that about 6` 2"? I believe Vaughan is out injured at the moment. Perhaps Hoots was right there. We hopefully will have young Harry Cane back before Xmas but he`s unproven. January will reveal all?

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • I Think we want to jump in front on Man U and snap up Tom Ince from Blackpool, ok i know im dreaming but we do need another striker hopefully that's what CH has planned for Jan. Would love to see Craig Bellamy back for one last stint in the Yellow un Green. OTBC

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    ncfcforever

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • You mentioned the key word there MB...Striker! We must sign one in January if we are to cement a position in the 'mini league' that exists between the top 6 and bottom 3 of the Premier League.

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    PepperJ17

    Monday, November 5, 2012

  • You mentioned the key word there MB...Striker! We must sign one in January if we are to cement a position in the 'mini league' that exists between the top 6 and bottom 3 of the Premier League.

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    PepperJ17

    Monday, November 5, 2012

  • Restricting the stokers to just one corner and the absence of basketball ace Delap reduced their opportunities to bombard our penalty area. What a very poor side, and SO dull. Johnno is clearly thriving alongside Tettey and, as a result, Wes the Genie has been released from his lamp. I wouldn`t want to rub BJ or AT up the wrong way! What a bullying whinger Tulip is.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, November 5, 2012

  • Hear hear, Swiss!

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, November 5, 2012

  • If TP has his way and there is a retrospective scan for divers following matches, among other things he will have to explain why Crouch backed into Barnett and then crumpled forward in a pathetic dive to give Charlie Adam a crack at goal from just outside the area and why Walters decided to go down after taking a shot and missing, without being touched, then appealed for a penalty. Looking at the "Snodders" incident, he was past Wilkinson and Wilkinson reached out and grabbed his arm, trying to pull him back. Honestly, I am not sure that would have resulted in him falling on his face but it may well have upset his timing and the quality of the cross. Tony Pulis just deal with your own divers, elbow merchants and tell Ryan Shawcross that if he wants to play rugby league, he will have to bulk up and be really hard.

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    Swiss Canary

    Monday, November 5, 2012

  • Hi, Pepper. Maybe Dion Dublin will tell us all who it`s going to be - on National TV, so as to f**k it up! We must not disrespect Holty`s contribution at all, but he cannot do it all himself. Short term solution could be Darius Henderson of Millwall. Sort of a Holty type, similar age, too. I have a feeling Hoots is on the case, not necessarily Henderson. OTBC.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, November 5, 2012

  • You won`t be seeing Craig, ncfc! Maybe Jimmy Bone?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012

  • if hoots had come in and had city playing like stoke i would have torn up my season ticket,and walked the dog every saturday afternoon.

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    bluelight

    Monday, November 5, 2012

  • I think the sooner fans, pundits, managers and players alike agree that 'buying' free kicks is part and parcel of the game now, the better. If that free kick had been awarded to Stoke, TP would have had nothing to say about it! There are obvious 'dives' from cheats and reckless tackles that have no place in the game, but 'soft' free kicks are here to stay!

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    PepperJ17

    Monday, November 5, 2012

  • Hi bluelight, ol` paartna. Starting line-up Saturday had 6 Hughton signings, 3 Lambo, 1 Gunn, 1 Roeder. The back 4 were all Hoots` + "defensive" midfielder Tettey. Snods was the only `attacker`. Some folk believe Snods was on his way before Hoots` arrival anyway? So it`s been a quietly managed transition to Hughton`s own team. Still Butterfield & Bunn to come sometime? Plus a striker?

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, November 5, 2012

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