Holt proud of way Norwich City pass test
Norwich's two goal match winner Grant Holt insists the Canaries can mix it with the Championship's tough guys after a bruising away success at Coventry.
City have earned plenty of plaudits under Paul Lambert for their footballing philosophy, with the Scot harnessing the creative talents of David Fox, Henri Lansbury and Wes Hoolahan in recent weeks.
But Holt's men had to roll up their collective sleeves to combat Adie Boothroyd's direct Sky Blues, who played the final 55 minutes with ten men after Aron Gunnarsson's two-footed challenge on Lansbury.
Holt's diving second half header at the Ricoh was cancelled out by Marlon King before the skipper lashed past Keiren Westwood to seal a fifth away league win.
'They are a good side,' he said. 'Obviously they can spoil a game and a few of the tackles were a bit ridiculous to be honest. The sending off was one where, from my point of view, I think he won the ball, but it was a bit high and there were a couple of late ones the referee didn't see and a few elbows being thrown. That is the way they play.
'He (Boothroyd) plays them in a manner which is to get in people's faces, so I am proud of my boys. We stuck up well. I thought when the tackles were there to be won, we won them. When we had to put our heads in certain areas, we did that. I'm not the softest lad in the world and I can take tackles. As long as no-one is going to hurt you, that is fine. I thought when our backs were against the wall we battled and showed both sides of our game.'
Holt's fifth and sixth goals in his last five league outings provided fresh evidence City's derby day hero is relishing his first real taste of Championship life.
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'The second one gave me a lot of pleasure because we needed it at that time in the game,' he said. 'We needed to get ahead. It was nice to see it go in because this is a tough place to come – regardless of ten or 11 men and we knew we could leapfrog above them. Obviously I was disappointed not to be involved (against Portsmouth) but the three the other week gave me a big boost and it was nice to get off the mark again.
'To score 11 before Christmas is not bad, I'm happy enough. It's something like one in three. It took me a few games to get going, maybe six or seven to get into the swing of it and I hadn't really played in this division week in, week out. I'd had a couple of games off the bench at Blackpool, but it takes time to find your feet. I think it was well-documented I was injured and missed a lot of pre-season but I'm enjoying it. I'm in team creating a lot of opportunities and playing well.'
City have unearthed a winning formula away from the creature comforts of Carrow Road.
'I think the gaffer has instilled a mentality where we don't go to away grounds looking for draws,' said Holt. 'We go to win, not to sit in.
'Look at any of our away performances and we have never allowed teams to play. I think some of our patterns of play are fantastic at the moment.
'We had three forwards in this game, with Henri and Korey and Foxy who want to get forward and we have full-backs who want to push on so we are very attack-minded.
'It's not the freedom to do what we like, but the option to go and win the games. This was a great win. I thought it might not come for us because they defended brilliantly in the second half.
'They got men behind the ball, their two full-backs tucked around and made if difficult for us but we knew if we sticked to the gameplan, passed the ball the way we can, then our rewards would come and thankfully they did.'
Holt and his team-mates wake up this morning with a six point play-off cushion to seventh-placed Reading. City's number nine will look no further than a Boxing Day trip to Crystal Palace.
'I hope we are there at the end of the season,' he said. 'We were in the same position last year. It was an on and off start, we finally clicked as a team and I think over these past three or four weeks you can see how good a team we are.
'We want to push on, that's for sure, and we have a couple of good games coming up and hopefully we'll see where that takes us in January.
'But we certainly don't look at who is behind us or how far we are in front of anyone else. It is very similar to last year.
'We know if we go about our job week in, week out then that can take you a long way but it would certainly be a good achievement to be up there after January.'