December 12 2013 Latest news:
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
Norwich City defender Russell Martin admits those doubters forecasting the Canaries’ Premier League demise grate with him.
City’s impressive 1-0 win over Champions League contenders Arsenal at Carrow Road signalled the intent within Chris Hughton’s squad to repeat last season heroics.
Norwich remain odds on with all the leading bookmakers to be relegated this campaign, but Martin believes there are enough positive signs to buck the trend for a second season running.
“That does annoy me, that old second season thing and all that,” he said. “I think the group of lads you have here and the character, they have worked too hard to get here, no one wants to give it up that easily. It’s almost, ‘Well, they’ve had one good season, that will do’.
“But that’s not the case. This club deserves to be in the Premier League for many years to come and we work extremely hard every day to try to achieve that and I hope come the end of the season we’ll look back on another successful season.
“We knew this run of games was always going to be tough. We looked at the start of the season at the fixtures and it was tougher than last year’s start, that’s for sure.
“We could feel our way in a little bit last year but it’s not the case now. We’ve lost the element of surprise and I think teams treat us with a bit more respect than last year. I think a few teams took us lightly and we punished them for it.”
Martin believes City will grow even stronger over the coming months with the full integration of Hughton’s summer signings.
Steven Whittaker and Jacob Butterfield both played 90 minutes in the club’s latest development game at Reading as they look to make their Premier League bows.
“We have a lot of new players and new management and it’s up to the lads who were here, not to try reinvent themselves, but it’s different and you have to adapt to that as quickly as possible,” he said.
“It was always going to take time working with a new manager and a new set of players, but we’re getting there slowly. Now it’s up to us. Nothing needs to change, really, the boys have proved they’re good enough to play in it week in, week out. It’s just the little things that are costing us.
“It was the same last season. We were on the end of a few bad results. It’s just because they’ve come in succession, it looks worse than it probably is.
We scored a lot of goals last season and it’s trying to find a balance of being more solid, conceding fewer, but at the same time trying not to take away those goals.”
City’s priceless weekend win over Arsenal pushed them four places up the Premier League standings and Martin feels the aim now is to try and stay there.
“We said this at the start. Realistically there are going to be eight teams that fight it out and it’s almost can you win that mini-league, because if you do then you’ll be alright,” he said.
“I’d take this position we are in now come the end of the season. The Liverpool’s and Stoke’s may pull out of it, but the rest will be battling against themselves and those are the games that will decide your season.”
• Current Premier League 2012/13 relegation odds
To finish in the bottom three: 8/11 Norwich, Reading; 5/6 Southampton; 13/8 Wigan; 5/2 QPR, Aston Villa; 7/2 bar.
Odds supplied by William Hill