Canaries have the stomach for a fight

PUBLISHED: 12:43 06 November 2006 | UPDATED: 09:48 14 September 2010

Norwich City's new Mr Versatile praised his team-mates for their found mental strength and "toe to toeness" which earned three hard-earned points against Sunderland on Saturday.

Norwich City's new Mr Versatile praised his team-mates for their found mental strength and “toe to toeness” which earned three hard-earned points against Sunderland on Saturday.

Man of the match Dion Dublin said the 1-0 victory was a game the Canaries could well have drawn or even lost a few weeks ago after the Black Cats put the home side under pressure for long periods in the second half in search of an equaliser to Robert Earnshaw's tenth strike of the season.

But the 37-year-old striker was a rock at the heart of the City defence alongside partner Jason Shackell as City clung on for the points.

And Dublin said he pleased the Canaries battled for the points.

“It was workmanlike. In the first half it wasn't brilliant,” he said. “In the second half we showed a bit of mental strength and a bit of 'toe to toeness'. We stood up when it counted. Players that came on did well and we would have possibly drawn that game three or four games ago, but no, we didn't. We got a win.

“I don't think it was a particularly good performance by us, but we stood toe to toe with Sunderland. They were not going to give much. We had to stand there and chip away at them and we did and when you give Robbie that kind of space, that's why his goalscoring record is second to none.

“It's all about doing what we did today, nicking three points and being strong mentally, that's one of the things we need to do more. “We need to do the ugly things, which are making the tackles, putting your head in where it hurts and letting the flair players do the flair stuff.

“I think it has got better. The mental strength has got better and I keep plugging it into the boys to stay alive, stay on their toes, because when you don't that's when you get punished.”

Sunderland might fell aggrieved at not gaining at least a point from the game, but their attacks often floundered on Dublin, who was understandably pleased with his own performance.

And it is a role he might be forced to playing for the next few weeks, as manager Peter Grant confirmed that the back and hamstring injuries suffered by Gary Doherty and Craig Fleming, respectively, might keep them out until Christmas.

“I am pleased with my own game, I thought I did okay, but it was the four of us, the positions we took up,” he said.

“Shacks (Shackell) is talking to me as well as me talking to him and Adam (Drury) is looking after Shacks and vice-versa, and Jurgen (Colin) and then Hughesy (Andy Hughes) came on and did a great job for us - we all did very well today. It wasn't brilliant to watch, I wouldn't have thought, but I am hoping everybody is happy.

“I would much rather play up front given the choice but there was no choice today. Flem and Doc are both injured. There was a space there that needs to be filled, the gaffer obviously thought one of the boys wasn't ready and I went in there and did a job. It is something I do - it needs to be done.

“I am hoping Doc and Flem get back as soon as possible. It's great for the manager to have everybody fit and selection problems, but if needs be I will do the job I was asked for.”

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