March 7 2014 Latest news:
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Russell Martin was his usual, honest self after Norwich City used an afternoon of real endeavour while taking on Manchester United to give their response to defeat against Fulham. Endeavour that should have earned points, but ultimately only drew plaudits.
That may have been enough – but for Fulham’s own subsequent response to their Boxing Day success at Carrow Road: a 6-0 hammering at Hull. It all served to underline a festive period of missed opportunities for the Canaries.
“It is what it is – we had a game straight away to try to rectify that Fulham result but we couldn’t quite do it,” said Martin. “The performance level was a lot higher than the other day, but of course this is disappointing. Especially at home. We’ve got a good home record so to lose two at home on the bounce is frustrating for us and a strange feeling. We’re not used to that.
“The lads worked really hard to get a point at Sunderland and now people look at that and maybe think it wasn’t as valuable a point as it could be.
“I feel we deserved three points over the two games, but we did not get them so now we just move on.
“People can look back on these games and be frustrated, but if we can go and get three points at Palace (on New Year’s Day) then that will be massive for us, and it is up to us to do it.
“Anything can happen in this league and we will go into Wednesday on the back of this performance and move on. Forget about their goal – that was a real soft one; it was rubbish. But we will try to take positives, head into Palace and try to go get some points.”
A narrow defeat to Manchester United rarely comes with shame – although this United outfit was far from vintage in terms of quality on the pitch; absentees accepted.
However, such dogged resolve that repelled City’s advances was in keeping with the visitors’ finest knacks. While the hosts made chances – especially in the first half and some through Martin’s own guile – they could not get through.
“This is extremely difficult to take because if you analyse the game I don’t think they created too much, if anything at all really, and then the goal we have given away was very poor,” added Martin.
“We should have had a couple ourselves, and it has been a problem we have not quite got right yet – not scoring enough goals.
“We were desperate to go in front and I know we did the other day and didn’t really turn it on after that. But I really felt if we had done that today we could’ve had a couple before half-time.
“We knew they would have a good spell in the second half. Still, for a Manchester United team coming here they didn’t have what people would’ve expected.
“It tells a story when in the last 10 minutes they are taking the balls into the corners, so that shows you how well we have done today – but we haven’t come away with anything.”
Martin added: “This was a much better performance than on Boxing Day against Fulham, so that is a positive and if we can reach this level of performance more than we don’t, we’ll be all right,” said Martin. “And with this intensity at Palace on New Year’s Day, then can go there and get a result.
“It is vital against teams like Manchester United, when you do have spells on top then you need to get that goal. We just needed to be a bit more clinical in the final third. We actually created quite a bit in the end and it has not quite fallen for us.
“But it is something we know we have to sort out and put right, and hopefully it will come.
“All the games are massive – Wednesday included. It has been an interesting league so far, and there will probably be 10 teams in a relegation battle through to the end of the season.
“It will be up and down with teams changing places and we have just to make sure we stay above all that and we will be all right.”