Cardiff City chief Malky Mackay hails the defiance of Norwich City old boy David Marshall
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Malky Mackay insisted David Marshall's super show to frustrate his old club was the perfect response to the critics.
The Cardiff keeper denied Chris Hughton's men on numerous occasions at Carrow Road to help earn the Bluebirds' a hard-fought Premier League point. Marshall's sour exit following Norwich's Championship relegation in 2009 ensured a hostile reception from the home fans, following high profile criticism in the wake of his embarrassing role in Chelsea's equaliser the previous weekend.
Mackay had absolved the 28-year-old of any blame in Samuel Eto'o's Stamford Bridge strike and his defiant display in Norfolk merely underlined Marshall's quality.
'He is an excellent goalkeeper. He was disappointed with what happened at Chelsea, even though he wasn't at fault, let me make that clear,' said Mackay. 'Here he showed what he has done for two and a half years. He is a top, top goalkeeper. He was the best in the Championship last year and he is absolutely a Premier League goalkeeper. He is a very level-headed lad. He had the crowd against him but he took that in his stride and he has done excellently since the day I came in.
'His confidence had probably been knocked when I first came here but he has done so much work with my goalkeeping coach, Jim Hollman, and he has got himself back in the Scotland squad and that is fully deserved.'
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Marshall was at the epicentre of fresh controversy after his decision to put the ball out of play in stoppage time with Alex Tettey lying prone on the pitch led to Leroy Fer's disallowed goal. Referee Mike Jones diffused the situation by ordering a re-take of the original throw-in after appearing to indicate he had not blown his whistle to restart the game.
'I think everyone in the stadium, bar the boy himself, sees that it would have been an awful end to the football game,' said Mackay. 'It would have been poor for our league, which is held in high regard around the world. I haven't spoken to the referee and there is no need for me to clarify how he handled it. Sometimes common sense has to take over from the rules.
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'We are talking about the reputation of our league. Whether that was the correct ruling he applied or whether we were allowed to walk up the field and stick it in or not I don't know, but that would have been a complete mockery and no-one in the stadium I feel would have wanted to see that, maybe with the exception of Leroy Fer.'
Mackay was delighted with another battling away league point after making two key half-time substitutions to check Norwich's momentum.
'We just wanted to tweak things tactically in terms of the amount of space that was happening in the midfield,' he said. 'We got energy and legs in there and I thought (Don) Cowie and (Arron) Gunnarsson came on in there and were excellent. I thought we defended pretty well as a team and of course there was a couple of scuffles in and around our goalmouth but I felt in the main we kept them to long range shots and in the second half especially our two centre backs headed balls away and defended very stoutly.
'It is a clean sheet and our fifth point away from home and that delights me. I spoke to a couple of Premier League managers pre-season who talked about the importance of picking up points away from home and how difficult it actually is at any ground in this league. I know Carrow Road very well and the atmosphere the fans can generate here to get behind their team and really put the opposition on the back foot. I also felt we wanted to try and nick something going forward and we almost did with Jordon Mutch's effort in the first half.'