The wait is over! Ivo Pinto so happy with his first EVER goal – and what it meant for Norwich City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Ivo Pinto waited so long for his first professional goal – and when it arrived, it was at the perfect time and place.
After more than 160 senior appearances since the 26-year-old Portuguese right-back made his debut with Porto, Pinto notched for Norwich to book victory over Burton Albion.
His composed 89th-minute finish on Saturday ensured City won by more than one goal in the league for the first time since the opening day – and sent them top of the Championship .
'I hadn't thought about a goal celebration,' beamed Pinto. 'But I am real happy it happened in this stadium, in front of this fantastic crowd. These supporters have been amazing to me and I think it came at a good time for the team.
'It was a cool finish. I then just looked for my wife but it was hard to see her. It was a great pass from Josh (Murphy) and in the end I just went to the goal and put it inside.'
A fifth successive win sends City into a mouthwatering week, with a Wednesday date in Newcastle and then with Wolves at Molineux three days later.
'When you have in your bank five games as we have, I think we can go into the next game with more confidence,' added Pinto.
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'With the squad we have, everything is possible. We are top in the league, why not keep that?'
It was arguably the most promising element to Saturday's victory – the post-match reaction.
Alex Neil has actually admitted City's opening-day rout of Blackburn gave his side a false idea of how success was going to come, back in the Championship. Birmingham underlined the lesson.
Since then, it's been all wins – with varying degrees of comfort, but wins nonetheless. And after City had to dig in against Burton at the weekend, they came out with their biggest winning margin in the league since Ewood Park, alongside the knowledge they need to improve from here.
And Pinto has no doubt they will too, as a pair of promotion rivals await over the next five days.
'We have to get better, yes,' said the defender. 'The day you think you have improved everything you need to, is the day you should stop. Why not want to improve every day? Why not improve my cross, my pass, my header? Why not?
'If we work harder, then against the other teams I think we can win all the games. But if we don't, we give them the chance to beat us.
'This Championship started not two months ago, and we're doing a great job. Even if sometimes we don't play as good as we want to, we are winning the games and top of the league so we can't regret anything.
'Five games and five wins is very important. I don't think we had a good day here, but in the end we won 3-1 at our place, which is great.'
At the City Ground the previous weekend, Norwich showed they can raise their level – and that will need to happen in their next two outings.
'You cannot have a good game all the season,' added Pinto. 'We didn't move the ball quickly in the first half and in the second half I think we improved that.
'We had a lot of chances but we didn't score them – normally we do, and that was the biggest problem.
'When things are not coming for you, you have to fight more to embrace the game, to try to get the three points. That is the most important thing, because after one week nobody will remember the way you played. They will remember the three points – and this is very important.
'You see, in this game we were ruthless because the good things were not coming and we had to fight Burton – and I think we fought them really well.
'If you are missing the passes and losing the balls, then you have to fight and we did that well. Against bigger teams we have to be ruthless and to have a good day – not miss passes, not miss opportunities.'
At least Pinto could smile in the fact he took his own big opportunity.
'I don't practice – the finish just came naturally,' he added with a smile. 'When I go forward I search for a player to pass the ball and make an assist. In this goal though, I just looked to the goalie and the goal, and hit the target.'