Audio: Old habits saw Norwich City to victory over Wolves, says Russell Martin
Character and resilience forged in successive promotions was the ticket that booked 10-man Norwich City's win over free-falling Wolves, according to Russell Martin.
The Canaries earned victory number 10 of their Premier League return, which all but secured their top flight survival, thanks to Grant Holt's brace – and despite the City skipper's dismissal for a second booking four minutes from time.
It made for a nervous final� but Martin felt Norwich got what their performance merited, which maybe hasn't been the case in recent weeks.
'We deserved the result today,' said Martin. 'Our performances have probably been better than what our results tell. Take away the Leicester game where we didn't perform, the boys have been playing well.
'I've sat and watched the last two and I think we've been unlucky not to get the points we deserved. But I think we showed today the character and resilience in the squad that has brought us success over the last two years, and hopefully we'll get a couple more and be all right.'
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Matt Jarvis had given the visitors a first-half lead only to see Holt stylishly equalise a minute later.
Martin, who spent most of the opening period as one of three centre-backs in a shuffled defensive line, added: 'We probably threw a few people with the formation we started with but we worked on it all week and it worked really well in the first half. We dominated possession and the goal was a bit against the run of play.
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'As usual the character and response was immediate and testament to the character of the lads. I think it settled a few nerves when we got the quick reply and the big man stuck his penalty away as well.
'Unfortunately he got sent off later which made it a bit tougher, but it's a massive result and gets us nearer to where we want to be – keep getting those points and keep that cushion and we'll be there sooner rather than later hopefully.'
Norwich had managed just one draw from five games before Saturday – but Carrow Road kept the atmosphere bright and the City players followed that up by delivering three points.
'We are staying up' was the chant at the final whistle, but Martin was still toeing the party line.
'Not until it's mathematically impossible,' smiled Martin. 'But if we just keep that cushion, a few more points until the end of the season, get over that magical 40-point barrier and we will be fine. It is a tough run in, we knew that at the start and it's great we have got so many points on the board so early.
'I just think for us, we don't look too much at where we are in the league. We know what we want to achieve and we know our targets, and as long as we get there, make it safe mathematically and if there are a few games left, we'll have a look and see where we can go.
'But until then if we just keep picking up points as we have been doing all season, hopefully we will be OK.'
Victory over Wolves means City are 14 points clear of the bottom three with just eight games remaining. But the picture is gloomier for Wanderers, who are four points from safety at the foot of the Premier League with just one win from 18 matches. And ensuring Wolves spent just seconds in the lead was crucial to City's success, Martin believes.
'I think if we hadn't scored so quickly their confidence rises, the impetus is with them and people start to get nervous,' he said. 'They would have been really boosted by going 1-0 up. They are probably low on confidence and it's a bit of a sucker punch for us to score.
'If I'm playing for Wolves and Norwich had replied so early, I know it would hurt me and I think you could see that once we scored it drained a bit of confidence from them, and I think after that we really took a grip of the game.
'We kept the ball really well and we put them under a lot of pressure. Obviously we came out in the second half with a different formation but it worked just as well.'
Martin had few complaints over Holt's dismissal after the skipper's late challenge on Michael Kightly earned him a second booking from Mark Clattenburg.
'He got the ball but I think the referee said he came in from the side and took the player first…it's one of those; I thought the referee was good today actually,' added Martin.
'We'll miss him but luckily it's only one game and hopefully he'll come back and nick us a few goals before the end of the season.'