Russell Martin sets his sights on Norwich City winning top-flight mini league
06:30 17 February 2016
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The Premier League relegation battle is shaping into a six-team mini league which Norwich City skipper Russell Martin is setting his sights on winning.
Although Aston Villa are eight points adrift of the Canaries – who currently occupy the final safe position of 17th – just five points separate Sunderland in 19th and Bournemouth in 15th.
With Newcastle and Swansea also firmly in the mix, it sets up an intriguing scrap for top-flight survival in the final 12 matches of the campaign.
“There’s six in there, maybe seven, and we need to finish top of that league of six teams,” Martin said. “We’ve got to play three of those teams so it’s in our hands, we’ve got 12 games to do it and we have to do it, it’s as simple as that. At this minute there’s six teams in it, maybe you suck one more into it.
“A lot of us have been through this before, I don’t think this is any time to panic and get tense.”
City moved back out of the bottom three following Saturday’s 2-2 draw with West Ham at Carrow Road, thanks to Newcastle’s 5-1 thrashing at Chelsea which saw the Magpies goal difference take a hit.
An air of disappointment remained though after the Canaries allowed a lead to slip away for the second time in three home games.
However, Martin felt City actually played better against the Hammers than they had when beating Aston Villa 2-0 and Southampton 1-0 at home around the turn of the year.
“We didn’t play as well as we did in any of those games, we won three out of four but we didn’t play as well as this in any of them,” the experienced defender said.
“We played good football for 65 minutes, so it is a balancing act.
“But we did win three out of four, that showed we can do it at this level and we need to go on a run like that again now.”