Audio: Marc Tierney hails Norwich City’s Old Trafford effort
The task was to send Norwich City's supporters home happy on Saturday afternoon – and despite defeat at Old Trafford, Marc Tierney believes it was mission accomplished.
In the end, the Canaries had the better of the chances and could quite easily have left Manchester with some points too – but the in-form left-back felt City did what they set out to do, and give one of European football's top clubs a real scare.
'We came extremely close to getting something, both in the first and in the second half,' said the 26-year-old.
'Hitting the post, deflected shots, some good saves from their keeper I thought – we gave it a real good go, which is what we came here to do to please the fans both at home and the ones that have travelled all this way, and I think we did that and sent them home proud.
'We did scare them. I think if you ask any of them in their dressing room, they were in for a right game. Goalless at half-time and we were working very hard, hitting them on the break on numerous occasions.
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'On any other day, sometimes those things go in for you and you can nick – who knows – maybe three points. But they are a quality outfit and that's why they are at the top of the league, because they do that and they come away with the win, but I think we've got to take a lot of confidence from that for the rest of the season and I think we will do.'
A bumper Old Trafford crowd of almost 76,000 took in the baking October day – one that illustrated exactly how far the Canaries have risen under Paul Lambert's tutelage.
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While disappointment in failing to capitalise on such a good showing will irk with a few, the fact City looked so at ease in such illustrious surroundings offered substantial reassurance. All of which left Tierney backing the contribution of his boss and City's 3,000 travelling fans, whose jovial atmosphere regularly put the home support to shame.
'One thing is taking such a great away support – that really spurs you on – but the players have been instilled by the manager that we're not to be overawed,' said Tierney.
'We've earned the right to play here from the performances over the last couple of seasons, and we just showed out there that if we can keep doing that there's no reason to be overawed in stadiums like these, because if you're going to get overawed then you're in the wrong league.
'We wanted to come in 0-0, it was really good to come in with a clean sheet and hopefully go on from there. So it was getting our structure sorted out and then we could maybe have a little more of an attack in the second half, which I think we did.
'It was extremely hard in those conditions. They keep the ball very well and that's one thing we will look to do a bit better, is keep the ball when we are in possession. But they are top quality players in how they move the ball and they made us work hard.
'I think it's testament to our fitness in the way we worked over pre-season and throughout the season with the staff that we could keep going right to the end and really get something from the game.'
Norwich's best chance fell to Anthony Pilkington, who had just goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard to beat but skewed his side-foot wide of the far post – moments later, United opened the scoring.
Tierney added: 'I thought Pilks played fantastic; he'll come again and so will some of the other lads. We really must learn from this, rather than take it as a defeat on the chin.'