‘No slacking’ is Paul Wilkinson’s mantra after Norwich City’s U21s 3-1 win over Fulham’s U21s
- Credit: Archant
Paul Wilkinson insists there can be no slacking from Norwich City's development squad after moving a step closer to sealing another season in the elite tier following Wednesday's 3-1 Carrow Road win over Fulham's Under-21s.
The young Canaries have now lost only one of their last 10 league games to consolidate their place in the top six, but under-21s coach Wilkinson is demanding a final flourish to the campaign.
Ange-Freddy Plumain struck his third goal in two games against Norwich to put Peter Grant's Cottagers in front before Cameron Norman and Carlton Morris struck either side of the interval. Declan Rudd then produced a superb 90th minute penalty stop to foil Plumain and Sam Kelly sealed the win seconds later.
'I have been in football enough to know you don't count your chickens,' said Wilkinson. 'It is important for next year as well that you finish the season well and the lads felt that as well. They've had a good season, they've been terrific since I came in, but I won't let them settle for second best. I will keep pushing them and pushing them and if anybody is needed for the first team they are ready. You never know in football.
'It's terrific for the club. We have Josh and Jacob Murphy out on loan and Harry (Toffolo) at Swindon and it's great to give a couple of debuts to the under-18 lads, and we want to push it forward.
'I have told them I want to maintain this now to the end of the season because we have some great games coming up. We have Chelsea and Everton here, Sunderland and West Ham as well and then Liverpool at Anfield. Our aim first and foremost is to stay in this league so we can compete with these teams year in, year out.'
Wilkinson felt the hosts were full-value for their comeback victory.
'I think we controlled the game really from the start so I felt we deserved it,' he said. 'The last five minutes it all got a little bit hectic. The penalty looked a poor decision but thankfully Dec showed his professionalism, because he hadn't had a lot to do, by pulling off an important save for us and to go and score at the other end within a minute was pleasing.
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'It was very important to get back on level terms before the break. The game at Craven Cottage 10 days ago was pretty similar in the sense we had plenty of entries in the final third without finishing them. Then Carlton took his goal well to put us in front and he had a tough game because he is up against Shaun Hutchinson, who has played a lot of Championship football for them this season. I was pleased with him, he did the simple things well.'