‘It’s now a chance to kick on’ – City defender ready to back up festive points
PUBLISHED: 13:13 31 December 2017 | UPDATED: 13:13 31 December 2017
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It was a short, determined answer. Even with a day fewer than Millwall to recover for their New Year’s Day clash at Carrow Road, Norwich City will be fine.
Grant Hanley’s vocal response to a post-Burton question was similar to his performance on the pitch at the Pirelli Stadium: no nonsense and effective.
That determination could come in handy too come New Year’s Day, when Millwall visit Carrow Road having played and beaten London rivals QPR on Friday night – almost 24 hours before the Canaries were grinding out a goalless draw at the relegation-haunted Brewers.
Perhaps it was fitting style to see off 2017 – either way, everyone will hope for better once City kick-off their own new year.
“It’s obviously very difficult playing Saturday and then again on Monday, it’s a quick turnaround,” said Hanley, who was one of six changes to Daniel Farke’s eye-catching XI that started at the Pirelli.
“It’s times like these when the manager has got to use his squad and the players he’s got available, and look at how he thinks he’s got to manage it. We came into the Burton game looking for a win but you’ve got to take the positives.
“I think it’s good for the squad that the manager has that option to mix it up if players aren’t quite performing or maybe need a rest.
“Possibly we were disjointed here because of all the changes, but the lads train together every day and it’s not like we’re strangers. The lads know each other, know how everybody plays. I just think it was one of those games – a Championship game and – when you come to places like this, you know how they’re going to try to make it.
“We said in the dressing room before the game let’s not get sucked into their style of play, trying to get it in behind us, in the channels and winning second balls.
“We play slightly different to that, try to keep it, get it down and pass it. You can say in the dressing room things like that before the game, but it doesn’t always go that way. It was difficult to create chances – but football is like that sometimes.
“What I will say is all the lads are together here. We’re all pulling in the same direction, we’re all working hard for each other and I can guarantee that anybody sitting on that bench is supporting everybody else that’s on the pitch.
“The team spirit is brilliant here and that’s how it will be going forward.”
The spirit can be a building block but with the open priority of Monday’s Millwall visit over the trip to Burton and five dropped points already during a crunch four-game festive period – including an acrimonious previous outing at Carrow Road on the eve of Christmas – there is no shirking from how crucial City’s battle with the Lions will prove to be.
“It’s now a chance to kick on,” added Hanley, who may well be one of those to miss out come kick-off. “If we back up the win at Birmingham and the point at Burton with the game at home come Monday, then it’s been a really good two or three games for us.
“Whoever you are and whatever team you are playing in whatever league, your home form is always really important and we know it’s not quite where we want to be at the moment.
“But I’m sure the lads will be working hard to try to put that right on Monday. It’s difficult with the quick turnaround but I’m sure the lads will be ready for it.”
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