Safri puts City first

Midfielder Youssef Safri will be thinking of club before country as Norwich City embark on a revenge mission at Carrow Road.The 30-year-old crowd favourite has been called up for African Nations' Cup duty for Morocco during the Canaries' two-week break from action, which begins after the home match against Stoke.

Midfielder Youssef Safri will be thinking of club before country as Norwich City embark on a revenge mission at Carrow Road.

The 30-year-old crowd favourite has been called up for African Nations' Cup duty for Morocco during the Canaries' two-week break from action, which begins after the home match against Stoke. But Safri is putting his trip to Harare to the back of his mind in order to focus totally on the clash with the Potters.

He said: “I have a game against Zimbabwe in the African Nations Cup on March 25 and I'm looking forward to that, but the only thing on my mind at the moment is getting three points against Stoke.

“The last game against Stoke we lost 5-0, but I didn't play because I was injured, which was frustrating for me. The players are looking forward to the chance to put that right.”


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The Canaries' mauling at the Britannia Stadium in October came in only the third Championship match of Peter Grant's reign as manager, but Safri, pictured, believes City are now in better shape to trouble the Midlands side.

Tuesday's 1-0 win over Birmingham was, said Safri, “a really good night”.

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He said: “We worked very hard, starting from the first, second, third minute through to the 90th minute. I think every player could be pleased with what he did.

“If you saw the games against Derby and Birmingham we played really good football. We have played very well against the top teams and it's frustrating that we're not next to them, but we lost too many games and we've had too many draws.”

Safri took the official sponsors' man of the match award against Birmingham, but was keen to spread the credit around.

He said: “I was happy with the award but everyone worked hard to get the three points and there were other players, such as Darren Huckerby, who scored a really good goal, who deserved it.”

The Moroccan has been in and out of Grant's plans over the past five months but he has started the last five matches. He said: “There have been a lot of games and yes, there is tiredness but to be honest, I have been in this league four years and it's not a problem for me. I don't think it's an excuse to let ourselves down. I'm happy at the moment, everything is fine. I'm playing every game at the moment and I want to work hard to stay in the team.”

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