Cameron Jerome praises ‘magnificent’ effort of Norwich City players at Wembley
- Credit: PA
Top scorer Cameron Jerome was full of praise for the style in which Norwch City managed to put Middlesbrough to the sword at Wembley.
Jerome notched his 21st goal of the campaign in the 12th minute of the clash, seizing on hesitation from former Canaries defender Dani Ayala to fire Alex Neil's side ahead.
The 28-year-old proved the man for the big occasion and was delighted his team-mates followed suit.
'It's a special day, it turned out to be our day but I thought we were magnificent from start to finish. The way we started was strong, we were snapping at tackles, we got the ball moving, we played some brilliant stuff, the tactics were spot on,' the former Stoke and Crystal Palace forward said.
'The manager's got it right, whatever we worked on in training we transformed it out there on the pitch so from our point of view it was interesting what he said and it worked, and we did a job on Middlesbrough.'
The opportunity to score fell to Jerome after sloppy defending from Boro, but the tall goal-scorer had to remain calm as the eyes of the football world settled on him for the key moment.
'I was just trying to pressure the defender, not let him get it out and the pitch was a little bit sticky,' Jerome continued. 'I was looking for a cut back but he defended me well, the keeper's obviously left me a little bit at the near post so I've aimed for the near post, it went in and it was a platform to go and kick on from there.
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'We controlled the ball, some of the passing and movement was brilliant and the wide players, Nathan and Brad cutting in, Howson and Wes obviously in midfield and Alex sitting and it was amazing.
'I thought we really deserved to win the game, Middlesbrough are a good side and we made them look very average in the first half.'
The striker insisted Boro doing the double over the Canaries did not add any extra motivation in the City dressing room though.
'It's nothing to do with that to be honest with you. It's 46 games and if you're good enough you get up at the end of the season, if you don't you're in the play-offs and we were after 46 games,' he said.
'Since the manager's come in obviously there's been an amazing turnaround and he's been a breath of fresh air. Middlesbrough did a job on us at our place but I always said we performed well in both games and we knew if we played how we're capable of playing, like we did, then we would win the game.
'We trusted the manager and his tactics and the players turned up and performed and we're proud of every single person out there.'
After barren spells in the Premier League with Palace and Stoke in recent years, Jerome took his tally for his first season with the Canaries to 21.
The Yorkshireman said: 'Twenty-one goals is a good return. I said that was the number I'd get (at least 20) and I managed to achieve it so from a personal point of view it's pleasing but the main thing is promotion.
'I dropped out of the Premier League and I said to the club that I thought they had an unbelievable chance of going back up with the players they've got, as long as they didn't sell any more, which they promised not to.
'With the players we've got and the quality we've got I could see nothing else but promotion. It started off a little bit indifferent but since the new manager has come in it's incredible the turnaround there's been.'
And Jerome has no fears about scoring goals in the top flight again next year, adding: 'I just play my game, I don't worry about scoring goals and becoming obsessive about it, as a striker you're obviously judged on your stats nowadays but that's a load of rubbish, so there's no issues for me.
'As long as you're performing and the manager is happy with the role you are playing for the team then that's all that matters, you're going to take the shirt, you're going to play, then good for me. We've got a great squad and places are up for grabs but the manager's fair, he gives everyone a chance.'