Let's hit struggling Saints - Russell

CHRIS LAKEY Darel Russell says the Canaries can learn from their topsy-turvy Carling Cup drubbing of Barnet - and take their frustrations out on struggling Southampton this weekend.

CHRIS LAKEY

Darel Russell says the Canaries can learn from their topsy-turvy Carling Cup drubbing of Barnet - and take their frustrations out on struggling Southampton this weekend.

The City midfielder was brutally honest in his assessment of "the game of two halves", but insists there were more positives than negatives, including the magic goal touch which saw City bang in five in the opening half an hour.

Next up it's struggling Southampton, who lost their season opener, were dumped out of the Cup by Peterborough on Monday, and then revealed how close they came to going into administration

It's time, says Russell, to "kick a man when he's down".

"I think every game in the Championship is very hard and the more games Southampton lose, the one closer they are to winning their next game, so it puts more pressure on us," he said. "But we have to keep them down there and get a result on Saturday because we need to get off to our first win in the league now and start and kick on.

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"We beat Barnet and we got ourselves in the hat for the next round. But there are a lot of things we have got to take from the game and learn from and hopefully be more mature when it comes to playing in the Championship."

The goals came thick and fast against Barnet, including a first for Russell on his return to Carrow Road - the first contribution towards his private target.

"It's lovely to be on the scoresheet," said Russell, who scored seven Championship goals for Stoke last season. "It was a massive thing to me to get off the mark and hopefully I can keep adding to that this season. I have set myself a target and I hope to try and get to that this season to aid us pushing forward.

"We probably haven't threatened enough at the goal, I feel, since the West Ham friendly when I first came in here, but we went out and showed we can put five goals into the back of the net within 30 minutes. Really we should probably have put a lot more in. But we have shown that we can score goals - now we have got to take it on to a real Championship game, that's the main thing."

Manager Peter Grant's criticism of his team after they allowed Barnet to not only score twice in the second half, but dominate the period, could well strengthen his case for bringing in another midfielder - but Russell welcomes the competition.

"It is going to improve everyone," he said. "It means you have to play really well to be doing what you need to be doing and keep yourself in the team. It is a massive thing and I am quite sure that more players coming in and more competition brings out the standard of the group and it is going to keep us pushing forward."

While Russell is quickly catching up on fitness levels, he admits he is short falling short in other areas.

"There is a long way for me yet," he said. "Fitness wise I feel like I am getting there now, but most definitely passing, touch, that side of things I think I am a long way off and I am a little disappointed from that point of view with my game.

"But I am hoping over the coming weeks I will be able to get that back and add to the team. I feel I am getting the work done, tackling, breaking up play, but I think I need to add more with the passing side of things."

Russell also backed Grant's comments on a performance the City boss described as unprofessional.

"It was a little bit immature in not being able to keep pushing and really shut the game out and we conceded two goals which is disgusting really, considering we were 5-0 up after probably 30, 35 minutes," he said.

"I think from the time the linesman went off before half-time the game went flat and from then on we took our foot off the pedal a little bit and never really got the momentum going.

"It was a massive banana skin, a no-win situation, because you are expected to win the game. People want you to go out there, put a good performance on and score goals, and we did it for the first 30 minutes of the game - but the other two thirds of the game it was not good enough for us and if that was a better team it could have cost us."