Steven Whittaker delivers a lift at Derby every Norwich City supporter can get behind
17:50 21 December 2014
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For all the chatter about how difficult life can be in the Championship – sometimes it can be worse in the torridly intangible environment of social media.
Steven Whittaker has had a fair amount of criticism from Norwich City fans in that particular setting; some of it particularly harsh.
But none of that mattered as the former Rangers man pulled the trigger after 89 minutes of what looked like being huge Canaries’ frustration at fellow promotion chasers Derby.
“It would have been a travesty if we didn’t take anything from the game with the way we played, especially in the second half,” said Whittaker. “We had Derby defending their box and under constant pressure. If they cleared it we kept picking it up. We kept putting it in there and getting little half-chances.
“The ball just dropped out of the air to me and I thought I’ll have a swing at it. I managed to get a good connection and hit the bottom corner. So that’s lovely. I just concentrated on the strike. The ball was in the air for a long time so I just concentrated on the timing of it and managed to hit it where I wanted to.
“We could have maybe stolen it in the end as well. Cam (Jerome) has probably hit his volley too well, just over the bar, and we feel like over the course of the 90 minutes we definitely deserved something.”
While his manager did have complaints over some of the day’s more controversial incidents, Whittaker had few complaints – at least with those that went against Norwich.
“The ‘goal’ looked like it went through Cam’s legs so it’s probably going to put the goalkeeper off, so we can see why that was given against us,” said the defender.
“The penalty I didn’t get too clear a view. Obviously I think it’s the blindside of Carlos (Cuellar) and he’s just managed to clip him. I’m just glad we’ve managed to show great character and even though we went down 2-1, we came back again.
“We were disappointed to go in behind at the break and we started the second half really well. Once we got to 1-1 I believed we were going to go on and win it. To give the goal away pretty much straight after we got back on level terms was disappointing but the character and determination we showed to get something from the game was fantastic.”
Not only was it a spur for the weekend – but the sight of those traits in such abundance offered hope City are finally rediscovering their early-season form.
“It’s a long season and obviously we were disappointed with the blip we’ve had. We still feel the performances were there but the results weren’t coming our way and we were getting punished for our mistakes – a little bit like here in this one as well.
“We’ve come away from Derby probably disappointed that we’ve only got a point, so that shows how far we’ve come. We’re on a good run from our last three fixtures and we are looking to continue that now.”
• Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey