Audio: Ryan Bennett would swap his plaudits for Norwich City points
Impressive debutant Ryan Bennett admitted he would sacrifice a few notches on his own performance level if it meant three points for Norwich City.
The 22-year-old January capture from Peterborough United finally made his first Canaries appearance with an assured display at Craven Cottage on Saturday.
And while the bad news was a 12th Premier League defeat of the campaign for City thanks to Fulham's early two-goal salvo, there was plenty of encouragement from the England Under-21's opening efforts in yellow.
'It went OK – I was disappointed in the first half to be two goals down and I think I'd take playing a little bit worse and the team winning,' said Bennett.
'That's just me. I will look at my own performance and I will look at the team performance as well. I'm sure we all will.
'But I've not really got any comment on my own performance. We were just unlucky to lose the game.'
Clint Dempsey had the Cottagers ahead inside two minutes and Damien Duff repeated the trick 11 minutes later, before Aaron Wilbraham delivered the very least City's second-half pressure deserved.
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'I think we definitely deserved something from the game for the way we played in the second half,' added centre-back Bennett. 'I mean we dominated from the whistle right until the end. We were unlucky in the second half, but our first-half performance let us down and that's what cost us in the end.
'It's always going to be hard once you start like that, and it turned out to be like that. But as I said, we came out and got our heads up after half-time and played some great stuff – but unfortunately it wasn't enough.'
Bennett's first taste of City action was as one of three centre-backs in a formation that lasted only until half-time for the second game running. But Bennett denied City boss Paul Lambert's tactical switch at the break had any particular bearing on the game.
He added: 'It's hard to say – we should be able to play any shape that's thrown at us and we work on different things in training. There's no real reason for us to put it down to anything like that.'
Lambert referred to Bennett's debut as 'brilliant' – but for now, the centre-back is just hoping for more opportunities to show what he can do before the season ends.
'That's his opinion and hopefully I can continue to impress him and I'll just keep working hard every day and try to get a few more chances,' added Bennett, whose blocks on more than one occasion preserved City's interest in Saturday's contest.
'There are 11 players out there that would do exactly the same thing in the same situation…all the lads would do exactly the same thing and they prove that day in, day out in training.
'The team is bigger than me at the end of the day. I was making my debut but we went 2-0 down, which wasn't ideal, and it was the same for all the lads out there, not just me.
'So we all had to dig in together and try and resurrect that. And we were unlucky in the end not to do that.
'It was nice to finally be out there. The lads have been doing well and they have had a few crucial games and with the win last week (against Wolves), it's helped the team with their league position and it was just a matter of time of really waiting to finally get a chance. I got that today and hopefully I can continue to get some more chances towards the end of the season.'
Having played League One and Championship football in the last two seasons, Bennett admitted he felt the step up to the top flight at the weekend.
'Yes, it's different – it's more clinical obviously. I think everybody knows that from the outside in as well, and it's just proved that today, being 2-0 down and some of the chances we created,' he said.
'Maybe in the league below where I have been playing for the last couple of years, you can nick a point in the end.'
With Norwich all but safe this season, more top-flight experience for Bennett before May should make his claim stronger for a regular role next term – but the former Posh defender denied anyone is looking further ahead than the final� to the current campaign.
'We want to go into every game and get as many points as we can from now until the end of the season,' said Bennett. 'That stands for everybody in the club. There isn't one person who doesn't want to succeed in the league, and that includes the rest of this year.
'Some people say we are safe, but as a team were looking to push on and try to collect as many points as we can towards the last seven games.
'There are good games to come, but it's up to us to go out and see how we can combat (the likes of Everton) and get a result.'
On Bennett's first efforts, Lambert added: 'I thought he was brilliant for his first game. He's only played one reserve game for us but I thought he was absolutely terrific, I really did.
'I have great belief in him that he will perform and I hope he's going to have a massive future for us.'