Audio - Grant Holt: Norwich City missing Premier League nous against Manchester United
Norwich City were given a taste of their own medicine at Carrow Road on Sunday by the late goal masters – but skipper Grant Holt admitted only a bit of Premier League nous separated them from a fully-deserved point against Manchester United.
Behind after just seven minutes thanks to Paul Scholes, Norwich were the better side from that moment on and Holt finally levelled in style with just seven minutes remaining.
City's exploits in recent seasons make them pretenders to United's own reputation for last minute winners. And sure enough Ryan Giggs – on his 900th appearance for United – wrote his own script in the final minute of injury time.
It was rough justice on Paul Lambert's men, with Sir Alex Ferguson conceding United's hosts were the better side on the day. And Holt felt Norwich's Sunday best deserved more.
'I think we deserved something out of it today,' he said. 'We worked hard and managed to get back into the game and gave a good fist of it.
'I thought we pressed them high and tried to get the ball back. Obviously they have got good players and you are going to get hurt at some point. We rode our luck at times but we're disappointed. We've done that to a lot of teams in the past and it's gutting to get it done to you.
'We had that momentum and that little spell where we were at them, switched off and could have been caught out; maybe Danny Welbeck should have done a little bit better.
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'But we have got belief and we always want to win games, and I think sometimes it's a little bit of naivety in this division when we maybe need to learn when we've got something good and if we're getting a point against Manchester United, you have got to tighten up a little bit.
'We didn't start well and gave them a bit too much respect at the start, and we were a little bit sloppy, gave the goal away and then we grew into the game after that.
'We were a little unlucky maybe to get level before the break, but we had a chat at half-time and we were happy with how it was going – got back into the game and then disappointed not to get anything.'
Having been voted into the Norwich City Hall of Fame earlier in the week, Holt's 10th Premier League goal of the season looked to have pegged back United's chase of top-flight leaders Manchester City as he turned smartly to rifled beyond the excellent David de Gea.
Holt now has goals against United, Liverpool and Chelsea this term – his header at Anfield earlier in the season earning Norwich a draw. And for that reason, Holt was philosophical over his Sunday afternoon strike.
'It's funny, those are quite easy ones – you have just got to hit them and hope they go in,' he said. 'Alby (Aaron Wilbraham) did well when he came on, battled, and it was a good header (from Zak Whitbread), and I was pleased to see it go in. But it's always sweeter if you get a point at the end of it.
'The goal at Anfield was probably more satisfying because we got a point. If we had got a point today then maybe. You know what I'm like – if we don't win I'm disappointed and I couldn't care less if I scored today or didn't, that is me going home grumpy now.
'As I said, it's always sweeter when we get the win at the end but the way I'm playing at the minute I'm really pleased with, I'm in my greatest shape, the goals are going in and I'm enjoying myself. I'm happy with the way it's going.'
Holt is at the peak of his powers – something that may yet have reached the attention of England caretaker manager Stuart Pearce, given the withdrawals of Wayne Rooney and Darren Bent from Wednesday's friendly with the Netherlands at Wembley.
And Holt also had plenty of admiration for Giggs and Scholes, who with a combined age of 75 still clearly have plenty of quality on show.
'I think it's unbelievable when you think of their movement and the way they keep it, the way they work,' said Holt. 'That's why they have been at the top for so long and you have seen today, they want to win. They are winners and that's what they keep doing.
'For Ryan Giggs to be breaking in the box, I think he just missed out on the first cross and then got back in and scored the goal, and that's why Manchester United are where they are.'
United's work at the back was also noteworthy, especially from young Spanish goalkeeper De Gea who pulled off some superb stops and stood up to some of the rough stuff from Holt, Wilbraham and co.
Holt said: 'I thought he was good. For people who have been criticising him, he put in some great saves – he made my one look like a little back pass in the first half.'
There remain no goal targets for Holt – but he was happy to praise the efforts of Wilbraham, who is now getting to show what he can do in the top flight from the bench.
'The gaffer has got patience and players in the squad who want to work,' said Holt. 'Albi has bided his time and I think he has been fantastic the last few weeks when he came on. He showed he has got a good touch, that he's strong in the air and he is willing to work, and I'm sure the fans have seen that in the last few games.
'Personally I never set targets. The only target at this club is trying to get a game, and once you've got that you have got to try and hold on to it.'