Gilmour hails ‘unbelievable’ City duo after frustrating loss to United
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
The performances of stand-in defensive partnership Ozan Kabak and Jacob Sorensen against Manchester United have been hailed as 'unbelievable' by Norwich City midfielder Billy Gilmour.
The Canaries were left disappointed to lose 1-0 to United after a spirited display, with a penalty from superstar presence Cristiano Ronaldo proving the difference in the 75th minute at Carrow Road.
A minor groin injury to Ben Gibson brought 21-year-old Schalke loanee Kabak in from the cold and when skipper Grant Hanley was forced off with a shoulder injury in the 21st minute, it was Sorensen that Dean Smith turned to.
With Andrew Omobamidele out with a back issue and Christoph Zimmermann still out after ankle surgery, the 23-year-old Danish midfielder made just his second Premier League appearance.
“Those two came in, it was disappointing for Grant getting the injury, but ‘Lungi’ (Sorensen) came in and Ozan Kabak was unbelievable,” said Gilmour.
“I thought they were really strong and it’s just that final part that it’s a penalty that’s hard to take.”
Ronaldo sent Tim Krul the wrong way with the decisive penalty and City were thwarted by United keeper David De Gea, with one particularly good save as Kabak met a Gilmour free-kick with his head.
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“We’re disappointed in there, we played very well, with togetherness and confidence on the ball,” the Chelsea loanee continued.
“I just think for them to get the penalty and the way it went is really disappointing because we played well.
“We pushed them hard, defended really well. Obviously Grant got the injury and Lungi came in and I thought he was unbelievable, composed and confident on the ball.
“For him to come in and do that job against Ronaldo and (Marcus) Rashford was unbelievable.
“They scored the penalty but our heads never dropped, we still wanted to get after them and create opportunities for ourselves.”
Head coach Smith felt the penalty decision against Max Aarons was very harsh but Gilmour didn’t want to dwell on that frustration as he set his targets on Tuesday’s visit of Aston Villa.
“It’s one of those ones where there is contact but is it enough for him to go down?” he added.
“It’s happened now and of course we can’t change that but we’ll take real confidence from this game to go into Aston Villa and know we can give them a real good battle and take three points, hopefully.”
The last time Ronaldo came to Carrow Road was in April 2005, when United were beaten 2-0 - when Gilmour was just three years old.
The 36-year-old Portugal superstar returned to Norfolk as a five-time Ballon d’Or winner after a glittering Real Madrid career.
“He’s a top player. I’ve watched Ronaldo as a childhood hero, so it’s one of them that’s a surreal moment but when it comes into a game, it’s all focus on us,” the Scot said.
“We know Manchester United are a top team and they’ve got great individual players, but we’ve got a great squad as well, that competed and it just wasn’t enough.”
The 20-year-old came close to scoring his first senior goal in the second half as City chased an equaliser, having not registered for Chelsea or Scotland either yet.
His first shot from the edge of the box hit the arm of Diogo Dalot but wasn't reviewed by VAR having been smashed at the United defender from close range.
Gilmour picked up the loose ball and drove a powerful left-footed effort that cannoned off the standing leg of Eric Bailly and deflected kindly for the visitors, flying behind for a corner.
The Canaries haven't scored in three of their last four matches but did create clear chances in both defeats to Tottenham and United, having five efforts on target on Saturday.
“Teemu is our striker and scores loads of goals but it can’t just be him, we can’t just rely on him to score the goals," Gilmour continued.
“Of course, myself, I’d have loved to have scored there with those two opportunities but they got the block in.
“Goals will come if we keep getting in those positions, we’ll definitely take our chances. We’re getting closer.”
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