Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Norwich City’s top scorer Robert Snodgrass is well aware his defensive qualities may be tested to the limit against Champions League-chasing Tottenham and their Welsh star Gareth Bale tonight at Carrow Road.
Snodgrass’ opened his City goal account in the corresponding 1-1 Premier League draw in north London but the Scotland international knows nullifying Tottenham’s chief threat could hold the key.
“It was my first goal for the club and first goal in the Premier League, so I will always remember that,” he said. “On that day as well I thought we could have gone on and won the game. I think if the game had been 10 minutes longer we would have won. We had some great chances, Russell Martin hit the crossbar and if we can’t take some belief out of that then there is no point.
“Bale is first class. I have played against him a few times and with the pace he has got, and the power, I think you need to be on your guard with him. But then you try to double up on him and you have got other players like Jermain Defoe and (Aaron) Lennon, and you only need to look at the attacking options they’ve got everywhere.
“So we know what to expect when they show up and I think they will realise as well that we have got quality that can hurt them too.”
Snodgrass’ former charges, Leeds United, showed the way forward with their 2-1 Elland Road FA Cup success over Andre Villas-Boas’ men at the weekend which exposed the Londoners’ defensive frailty.
“It was a great result for them. It doesn’t feel like the FA Cup if Leeds aren’t causing an upset, which they do almost every year,” he said.
“As a footballer you want to try to attack and get chances but they are first-class, they go forward in numbers and they create, and you’ve also got to realise you have got a job to do for the lads at the back, and the way we play means sometimes you need to help your full-back or if it’s midfielders, help the centre-halves.
“These players are top-quality so defensively we need to be on our game if we want to stop them. Tottenham are fourth in the Premier League, going for a Champions League spot and it’s not like they are there by luck. They are there by the quality they have got in the team.”
City’s squad have come in for criticism after their own weekend FA Cup exit to lowly Luton but Snodgrass insists they retain the capability to launch another unbeaten run. “You speak about things in the moment. We weren’t doing so well and then we were, and now we’re not again,” he said.
“We know ourselves that we want to have more highs than lows. As an individual you want to be fighting to be in the top half of the table, and it’s going to be easier to do that if we get the win in this game.
“It’s easy turning up and just playing a football match, but you need to do that little bit more to win it and if you want to win it you need to be fighting, scrapping and doing everything you possibly can and that’s what we will be doing.
“The manager will drum that into us and he will let us know that those recent games are finished and you cannot change what has happened in the past. What you can do as a team and individual is try to affect the future by putting in that shift, that endeavour that should come naturally as a footballer.
“But sometimes you need to take that chance in front of goal first and foremost. I believe in the squad that we have got that we will be fine.”
Snodgrass admitted there had been some tough-talking behind closed doors following heavy defeats to Liverpool and the Hatters in league and cup battles. “What we have got to say about the games we say after the match in the changing room. We let it all out. We don’t leave anything in there. We express our feelings and tell it how it is,” he said.
“We are all in this together, that is what a team is all about. No individual will get you anywhere. Moments of class or brilliance maybe separate a game at times, but a team will always work better than an individual.
“The manager is the boss and he decides what is happening and as a footballer you express your feelings when you lose, but that will stay in the changing room and that is what part of being in the squad is all about.
“You win together and you lose together. You take many knocks as the season goes on but a good team puffs its chest out when things are not going well and you get back to winning ways, and hopefully we can do that.”