Russell Martin: Norwich City got the least they deserved
Russell Martin felt the Canaries got the least they deserved thanks to Simeon Jackson's injury-time leveller over Fulham on Saturday.
Having been comprehensively beaten by high-flying Tottenham last week, City booked a top-10 Premier League spot at the turn of the year thanks to their point – with a trip to Queens Park Rangers on Monday afternoon (3pm) signalling a quick start to 2012.
'Coming off the back off the previous one to Spurs and especially being at home, we needed a result and we got one,' admitted Martin, as City look to complete the tricky task of turning a promising start to their Premier League return into safety come May.
'First half we were a bit flat but credit to Fulham, they came and played well and stuck to their game plan. But second half we showed what we're all about.
'We came out with fresh impetus and started winning tackles higher up the pitch, pressed them, made it a lot more difficult and imposed our own game on them really. And Jacko's goal was the least we deserved.'
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Fulham's lead came early courtesy of ex-Porto striker Orlando Sa – but although City pummelled their visitors in the period after going behind, Martin Jol's side grew more comfortable as things progressed.
'Fulham weathered the storm and if we were the away team and weathered those 10 minutes we'd be more than happy, but it just wouldn't go in for us,' said Martin.
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'It's always hard, especially at home when we want to get at teams, to go down 1-0 that early. But the boys picked themselves up really well.
'We should have probably got a goal in that 10-minute period and when we didn't, I think Fulham settled down again. We found it hard to press them but made the changes at half-time and after that we didn't look back.'
Martin did admit the Canaries need to not give the ball away as easily as they did on New Year's Eve: 'We looked after the ball a lot better in the second half; first half when we had it we gave it away too cheaply and then it's hard to get it back.
'In this league it is so much harder to get it back than in the Championship. Fulham could keep the ball for extended periods of time and all the teams in this league can do it. So we need to keep it better. Second half we did and we just played with a lot more energy.
'That's what we have been about the last few years, energy and running all over teams and moving the ball.
'In the first half it went flat. But once we came out the crowd got behind us in the second half really well, and we gave them something to cheer. It was inevitable really. It always felt like we were going to get one after last season.
'With all the times we nicked equalisers and winners last season in the last minute, I just think it sums up the character in the squad and the personalities we've got that you never ever wilt.
'And the club as a whole, the fans, most of them expect us to nick something in the last minute. I don't think anybody leaves the ground early these days, so it's summed it up and rounded it off really nicely.'
Martin has scored in consecutive home fixtures with Queens Park Rangers – but hopes the same won't be anticipated in west London.
'I only score at Carrow Road against them, so I hope people aren't expecting too much,' joked Martin, who reverted to right-back against Fulham. 'We enjoy playing QPR. It's always a good battle and they have always been tight games the last two years. We know what to expect and I'm sure they know what to expect from us as well, so it's going to be a great game. It's a really tight atmosphere at Loftus Road, a lot of the boys like playing there, the crowd is on top of you and we'll go there and try and get something.'