Norwich City boxes are ticked for Anthony Pilkington
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Anthony Pilkington admitted Norwich City ticked the last box of a memorable campaign at White Hart Lane – but he is looking forward to a few more big occasions to rise to before the season is out.
Victory at Tottenham was the Canaries’ first major scalp of their Premier League return after going close at the likes of Stamford Bridge, Anfield and Old Trafford.
The afternoon will live long in City memories – but with Manchester City next to visit Carrow Road, and games against Liverpool and Arsenal to follow in the final throws of the campaign, Pilkington knows any letting up could easily see Norwich’s joy turn sour.
“The gaffer said he wanted to beat one of the big teams and we’ve gone to Tottenham and done that really well,” said Pilkington, who scored on his return from injury to set up City’s 2-1 Easter Monday win.
“We’ve shown everyone what we can do and we played some really good stuff. When we look back at the season we will look back at this day and it’s not just this result but the performance as well. It’s a great day and you’ve seen the fans. They came down and sung their hearts out again for the whole 90 minutes and win, lose or draw, they do that anyway.
“But I don’t think you can take the foot off the pedal in the Premier League and if you’re not at it in any game you’ll be made to look silly.
“The manager wouldn’t let us ease off anyway, never mind the boys. So we will keep going and hope for another big win against one of the best teams in Europe.”
Indeed, Manchester City’s line-up is impressive – but they will head to Carrow Road desperately clinging on to faint hopes their Premier League title challenge is still alive.
Add to that the possibility of one of Norwich’s best top-flight seasons and the chance to finish above Liverpool come the end of the season, and there will be plenty at stake on Saturday.
“All the pundits and what have you were talking about us finishing bottom of the league, so to finish above Liverpool would be unheard of, wouldn’t it?” added Pilkington.
“Manchester City need to come out and beat us to stand any chance of pushing for the championship, but we will carry on doing what we’re doing and take the Spurs win into Saturday and try to take three points off City as well. But this just proves to everyone we are more than a match for anyone in this league.”
Pilkington was delighted for his fellow summer recruit Elliott Bennett, whose second-half firecracker earned Norwich all three points at Spurs – and broke the winger’s City scoring duck in the process.
“You’ve seen Elliott Bennett do what he does every week in training and put one in the top corner,” said Pilkington, disbelieving it had taken his team-mate so long to score. “That’s what I mean. The boys are telling him to shoot more. He’s too nice. He likes to pass or cross when he should shoot more because he’s got one hell of a strike.
“So he’s done that here and shown everyone what he can do. He should do it more and I think he’s going to take the confidence to do it more after scoring his first Premier League goal.”
As for Pilkington, he was happy to be back with a bang at White Hart Lane – and hopes he can reach his own target in the remaining five games of the campaign.
“It’s been a great season for me, coming back from last season’s injury and scoring eight goals in the Premier League up to now,” said Pilkington. “I’ve really enjoyed my football here at Norwich and hopefully I can get a few more before the end of the season – maybe get in double figures, but I’m just happy here and enjoying my football.
“I haven’t scored for a while, it’s six games or so, so it’s nice when it falls to you like that – but you’ve still got to tuck it away, haven’t you?
“I’ve not really trained for two weeks so my legs got a bit tired towards the end, but adrenaline just gets you through.
“It’s always frustrating when you’re not playing with little niggly injuries and you can’t get out on the training pitch or field to play and help the team.
“But you’ve just got to keep your head. I had a bad injury at the end of last season so I know about that. You don’t really like missing games at the best of times so those little niggles just make it even worse when you’ve got to sit there and watch the boys do their stuff.
“But this was a great way to come back, to come here and put in a performance against one of the teams fighting for a Champions League place.”