Thursday, December 27, 2012
Norwich City defender Michael Turner believes the Canaries should be pleased with how their Premier League survival plan has been implemented despite going down to Chelsea.
After going 10 games unbeaten, City fans have been brought back down to earth with a bump after successive defeats as Juan Mata struck late in the first half to ensure Rafa Benitez’s reign as Chelsea boss gathers momentum.
However, Turner insists the squad is in an excellent position to ensure the club remains in the Premier League next season.
“Of course we would have taken 25 points after being halfway through,” he said. “I think we can be pleased with what we’ve done so far as a side.
“It was a great effort from us – we tried to keep it tight in the first half. We were disappointed that we went behind but we stuck to our gameplan, kept it tight and just hoped we could create that chance to get an equaliser.
“I don’t know if we created enough chances really to nick a draw. When you’re only 1-0 down then there’s always a chance you can get back into it but it just wasn’t to be for us.”
Turner maintains the Canaries will stick to their defensive gameplan against the Premier League’s elite. City have gained memorable results against the likes of Arsenal and Manchester United this season thanks to a solid backline but the Londoners proved a bridge too far yesterday.
Mata’s excellent 38th-minute strike separated the two sides but City couldn’t find the kind of attacking fluency needed to unsettle the Champions League winners despite Grant Holt being restored to the side following a hamstring injury.
Turner acknowledges building from the back has come at a price to the Canaries going forward but, with Manchester City the next visitors to Carrow Road, he believes it is the most effective way to upset the top sides.
“I think it does come at a bit of a cost but you have to start there against these teams – you can’t afford to go gung-ho and push forward too much,” said Turner, who has been a rock at the back for Norwich in recent weeks after a difficult start to life at Carrow Road.
“You can’t afford to expose space in the middle of the park. It has been key to our success against the bigger sides here in the way we have shut them out and gone on from there.
“I think we will stick to what we know best and go again for the next game.”
Whilst City struggled to create chances of their own, Chelsea couldn’t finish off the Canaries in the second period despite going into the match having hammered eight past Aston Villa on Sunday.
Turner admitted it is something to cling to when you are going to be facing the likes of Sergio Aguero and Carlos Tevez in a few days time.
“We were pleased with how we defended in the game – they didn’t create any real clearcut chances,” he said. “They managed to get themselves in front but it was still important that we stuck to our gameplan and just kept doing what we had to.
Fernando Torres was kept very subdued despite his improved form in recent weeks and Turner is enjoying life at the heart of the Canaries’ backline alongside Sebastien Bassong, who might have salvaged an equaliser late on but headed over.
“I’m pleased with how I’m playing and the partnership seems to be working really well,” he added. “We’re disappointed that we haven’t kept a clean sheet in the last two games but I think we’re heading in the right direction with us two there.
“We are also defending as a team a lot better – it’s been really good.”