Canaries' love will conquer all

CHRIS WISE Dickson Etuhu and Youssef Safri presented a united front as they consigned last week's training ground dust-up to the history books - and set their focus firmly on Sunday's crunch encounter with Burnley at Carrow Road.


Dickson Etuhu and Youssef Safri presented a united front yesterday as they consigned last week's training ground dust-up to the history books - and set their focus firmly on Sunday's crunch encounter with Burnley at Carrow Road.

The Norwich City midfielders were the centre of attention at Colney yesterday after coming to blows a couple of days before the grim 3-1 defeat at Plymouth which piled the pressure on manager Nigel Worthington.

The City boss was handed what amounted to an ultimatum from club owners Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones after the game, with a statement informing him that he had two games to “rectify the situation” - and that's all both players will be concentrating on at weekend as they attempt to put an unhappy few days behind them.

The Canary colleagues both claimed the confrontation had been exaggerated out of all proportion, with Etuhu going on to insist that “we all love each other here” and Safri revealing that the pair had immediately put the incident behind them with a hug.

“It's football - sometimes things get heated,” said Etuhu. “I am trying to improve, he is trying to improve and we had a little clash.

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“That happens all the time - it happens at every club. At my last club it was just the same. It's gone now and we have got to go out there on Sunday and play together and enjoy our football.

“The lads don't like me on the training pitch because I love a tackle! That's how I am, I can't help it. At the end of the day every player has got their own individual strength and that is one of mine.”

As for suggestions that the incident was an indication of a deep-rooted malaise at Colney, Etuhu added: “Talk of disharmony in the camp is rubbish. We all love each other here.

“We get on well, we play well together and we have just got to show people the sort of quality we show on training pitch on the big pitch.”

Safri, facing the media shortly after his colleague, was more forthright in his criticism of the manner in which the bust-up had been portrayed in the national press.

“There were a lot of lies in the papers, trust me, you can ask everybody,” he said. “There was a little something in training on the Thursday before the game. But when we finished training we were laughing, shaking hands and giving hugs to each other.

“Everybody was happy - the manager, the players, even me and Dickson.

“To be honest I had forgotten about this, it can happen anywhere - in England, anywhere in the world. I am just focussed on the next game.”

Worthington desperately needs a victory, coupled with a convincing performance, against Burnley to appease his employers after a poor run of league form that has seen the Canaries take just one point from a possible 12, after starting the campaign in encouraging fashion.

Etuhu didn't want to comment on the contents of Delia and Michael's statement, but he is well aware of what is at stake at the weekend and can't wait for the opportunity of getting the Home Park nightmare out of his system, whilst proving a point to his manager, and the club's supporters.

“We want to forget about last week, it was a bad game for us,” he said. “We are at home, where we love to play, it's on the box and we want to go out and show people what we are all about. We can't go out there and play like we did the other day.

“I don't why it happened, it just all went wrong. I thought we started off well and I scored a goal which was onside and the referee didn't give it

“But then they scored a lucky a goal and from then on it just went downhill. All the players, including myself, didn't do ourselves justice. Everything just went wrong, it was one of the days.

“We started the season well but we have lost a few games recently and people our wondering if the early wins were just luck. We have to go out and show that is not the case. When we were playing well everyone was praising the manager, praising us. We can't turn into a bad team in three weeks, whatever it is. We have just got to go out there and fix what we have broken.

“We all know we have got a lot to give the fans, we have got to show them what we can do.”

Asked about the man who brought him to Carrow Road last season, Etuhu added: “The gaffer is taking all the stick for our bad performances. It's not nice for him.

“We are the ones of the pitch who need to perform. People tend to blame the manager but we are the ones playing every week. We didn't do ourselves justice against Plymouth, it was embarrassing. I put my hands up and say it wasn't good enough.”

Sunday's game against Burnley will see Etuhu go head to head with Micah Hyde, another man who is known to like a tackle - and the City midfielder can't wait for battle to commence.

“I've love physical games and I am really looking forward to Sunday's game - if I play,” he said. “Micah is a very good friend of mine, but that won't make any difference. Nobody scares me in this league so I am not bothered.”