Grant full of praise after City regroup

CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant praised the attitude of his depleted Canaries side after they battled back from a goal down to earn a point against Coventry. City had started well enough but were soon found out by a big Coventry side, under the guidance of new boss Iain Dowie for only the second time since his appointment last week.

CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant praised the attitude of his depleted Canaries side after they battled back from a goal down to earn a point against Coventry.

City had started well enough but were soon found out by a big Coventry side, under the guidance of new boss Iain Dowie for only the second time since his appointment last week.

For an hour, the visitors had the game under control - before Chris Martin popped with an equaliser which prompted a late rally that could easily have deposited three-much-needed points in the Norwich City bank.


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The final whistle was met with muted applause from a crowd which had reacted angrily at half-time, with City a goal down and looking void of ideas on how to get back into the game.

But it was a case of “if only they knew”, with City boss Grant not able to name his team until a little under two hours before kick-off because of injuries and fitness concerns.

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“I think the first half it looked as if we hadn't worked on anything,” he said. “It is the first time I have named a team at that time and not even worked on it. I just showed people on the blackboard what we were looking to do - but if we played the game of football on a blackboard I would never lose.”

“We go one down and I moved Chris Martin to the right-hand side just to contain it to get us to half-time and try and organise it then,” he added. “We had to change it second half because we know we need the goal, so you are trying to think of the system you can put in place and manoeuvre them about a bit.

“But the one thing I can't fault any of these guys for is their effort, their commitment and their desire to do well. Their lack of understanding sometimes lets them down, but the spirit and determination - we could have ended up scoring four goals in the last 10 minutes, but Andy Marshall has produced two world class saves, and there were two misses.

“We have to give them great credit - if anything I thought they'd be dead on their legs in that period because of the personnel we had available, but they showed tremendous spirit and it could end up being that massive point that you are looking for.”

That point was earned by teenager striker Chris Martin, starting on his second Championship match but again belying his tender years with another mature performance, honed on the playing fields of Colney and the club's academy system.

“We want those nuggets around as we want to improve the team,” said Grant. “I wish we had everybody available to play along with him. He can play anywhere really, he can play on the left-hand side, on the right-hand side, he can play behind or right up the pitch - because he is a good footballer, that's the most important thing.

“He has got a good brain, he has got an understanding of the game - but he knows there are a million things he has still got to learn. You will see things in a game that let him down badly but he has that belief.

“He has been terrific and a great credit to him. He is playing with that old head on young shoulders and has a willingness to do well and a willingness to listen.

“I just think he has that arrogance and that knack. He wants to score, he goes in there to score - not hoping to score, he goes in there believing he is going to score and I think that is an important thing as a striker.

“We had a lot of players who wanted to play outside the box and look for cut-backs, but that boy goes in where it hurts. If it comes off the keeper he is round about him, if it drops in the six-yard box he is round about. He just has that little bit of intelligence about him and great arrogance for a young man.

“He has got a major chance - he has got to keep progressing and hopefully we can give him the knowledge.

“The system here is very, very good indeed. I think he has been schooled in the right manner. We have not taken that naturalness out of his game. And I think too many coaches when they are younger don't allow lads to express themselves - he just seems to have a naturalness about his game.”

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