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‘People were writing us off’ – Stoke boss focused on promotion following win at Norwich

Peter Etebo, left, and Joe Allen celebrate with Cuco Martina, right - albeit Stoke needed a fortunate own goal to come away with their first away win of the season at Norwich City. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Peter Etebo, left, and Joe Allen celebrate with Cuco Martina, right - albeit Stoke needed a fortunate own goal to come away with their first away win of the season at Norwich City. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Paul Chesterton

Promotion remains the focus for Stoke after kick-starting a resurgence at Carrow Road.

Fresh from 10 years in the top flight, the Potters have started to shake off their relegation hangover by following up a 2-0 home win over Bolton with Saturday’s 1-0 win at Norwich.

“People were writing us off after 10 games because we hadn’t started the way we were expected to,” Stoke boss Gary Rowett said. “But I feel as though we are building and I’d expect us to improve as a team as the season continues. We’re starting to get our rewards – my belief is that we’re capable of finishing in the top six and hopefully that will be the case.”

The win only came courtesy of a Timm Klose own goal forced by Cuco Martina though with Rowett, speaking to his club’s website, adding: “We’ve played better this season and lost games so in some ways it’s nice to win a game and not play very well at all.

“I thought we defended diligently throughout and our concentration was excellent. Norwich are a good side but I think they only had two shots on target (three were officially listed), which underlines just how well we’ve defended.

“Of course, I’d like us to pass the ball better than we did but it’s a different way of winning a game away from home, which is something we haven’t done for a long time.

“At times this season we’ve played expansively but we’ve not defended well enough but in the last two games we’ve looked really solid. Against Bolton in the week we were really expansive whereas today we didn’t play much football.

“I thought we’d have more energy than Norwich because they had 24 hours less to recover after their midweek game but they started really well and made it very hard for us to put them under pressure high up the pitch.

“But we showed great concentration and it doesn’t matter how you win in this division. It’s about winning.”

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