Worthy’s plea: Get behind us
CHRIS WISE Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington called on all supporters to get behind their team at the weekend after guiding them to their first away win of 2006.
Norwich City manager Nigel Worthington called on all supporters to get behind their team at the weekend after guiding them to their first away win of 2006.
The Canaries finally broke their duck at Ninian Park on Saturday afternoon as a stunning 16th minute strike from Cardiff old-boy Robert Earnshaw settled a keenly contested end-of-season encounter.
Worthington was delighted with his side's performance as they rounded off a poor campaign on their travels with an overdue success - and has now got his sights firmly set on making it seven home victories on the trot in the final fixture against Wolves on Sunday.
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The City boss is well aware that the previous game at Carrow Road - Easter Monday's dramatic 3-2 victory over QPR - was played out in a tense atmosphere, with a mixture of angry and sarcastic chants being aimed at management and players alike. And with that in mind he had a message for the club's frustrated supporters as he reflected on a morale-boosting triumph in South Wales.
“We have just had a good performance and a good result,” he said. “What I would like to see next Sunday is for everyone to come down to Carrow Road and get behind the players and give it their all.
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"I hope they can show people what the atmosphere at the ground can be like, how tough it can be for visiting teams. If everyone can join in that then it will be a big help.
“We want to win every game, that never changes, and Wolves at home is a great one to finish with. It is the final game of the season and we want to finish as high up the table as possible.
“We had a poor start to the season so if we were to finish in seventh or eighth spot then that would be acceptable."
After Saturday's 1-0 triumph Norwich know a victory over Glenn Hoddle's side would see them finish a troubled season in seventh position - and that's exactly what Worthington and his players will be aiming for at the weekend.
Having accumulated just 26 points in the first half of the campaign, City have managed 36 in the second, with one fixture still to be played, and the City boss will be happy if his side can maintain the solid work on Sunday - and then take it into the 2006-7 season.
“It's always good to get an away win,” he said. “I suppose it has come a little bit late for us, but then it's never too late in football.
"It is an excellent win because Cardiff is a hard place to come to and they have had a fine season.
"Today summed up what is required at this level - a high work ethic, a never-say-die attitude, great energy, good competing and a strong desire to keep the lead that we had and to try and add to it.
"We deserved it because we worked very, very hard, every single member of the team. That is the way forward and we have got to keep doing that. We have not had enough of that away from home this season and it's the recipe for success.
"The three points is the main thing but the clean sheet was also very pleasing - that's also something we haven't had enough of this season. Some of our play was very good but the way the players competed was outstanding. That is what we have got to do on a regular basis away from home.”
The win was notable not only for it's location but also for the fact that it came with Norwich wearing their much derided away kit which has failed to inspire them on their travels since it was introduced after the club's promotion to the Premiership. This was the first success in 13 attempts while wearing the dark green and black shirts and Worthington for one won't be sad to see the back of them.
"I can say it now - that's the last game for that green kit and I am absolutely delighted about that,” he said. “Thankfully it will now be consigned to the rubbish bin because no-one likes it.
“I am pleased to see the back of it because until today we have not performed well when we've worn it. It's not down to the colour of our shirts, I know that, but the fact remains that it hasn't been a lucky kit for us.”
A disappointed Cardiff boss Dave Jones paid tribute to Norwich match-winner Earnshaw as he reflected on his side's third successive home defeat.
"I don't think my two centre-backs will have an easier afternoon but all credit to Earnie,” he said. “He had one chance and buried it while we were unable to do the same at the other end despite having a lot of the ball.
"We would have won the game hands down on possession but one mistake has cost us.”