Dean Kiely urges Norwich City squad to embrace play-off pressure
PUBLISHED: 11:59 30 April 2015 | UPDATED: 12:16 30 April 2015
Archant Norfolk 2015
Norwich City goalkeeping coach Dean Kiely insists play-off pressure can bring the best out of the Canaries.
Kiely is no stranger to sudden death football in a career that included four promotion-winning campaigns. City head into this weekend’s Championship finale against Fulham knowing they could face bitter rivals Ipswich in a two-legged semi-final, and Kiely has personal experience of that special occasion after being part of the West Brom side who squeezed past Wolves 4-2 on aggregate in 2007.
“In 2007 I played in a play-off semi for West Brom against Wolves, which falls into a similar category,” he said. “It was 180 minutes with home and away legs and every minute was frantic, frenetic, the atmosphere was just incredible and those were two brilliant games. Those are the games you want to play in. Depending on how the results go we could face Ipswich. That’s a massive local derby and everyone is hoping it will happen.
“I’ve got a bit of play-off history. I played in a play-off final for York City and it went to a penalty shoot-out. I managed to save the third penalty and we won it and went up. That was at the old Wembley against Crewe in 1993. Everyone says there’s a lot of pressure on players in those games, but professional players should thrive under that pressure. Players must meet all your challenges head on and if you make it then going up in a play-off final is a great way to get promoted.”
Kiely replaced Tony Parks as City’s goalkeeping coach following Alex Neil’s arrival after a stint in the Premier League as part of West Brom’s backroom team.
City are bidding to return to the Premier League at the first attempt and the 44-year-old, writing on his official Twitter account, has been impressed with the way Burnley’s Tom Heaton has stepped up after the Clarets’ Championship success 12 months ago.
“If you get into the Premier League with a promoted side, then as a goalkeeper you know that most weeks you’re going to be busy and under pressure,” he said. “In my first season at Charlton back in 2000 we went up to the Premier League and when I looked at the stats at the end of the next season I’d made the most saves of any keeper in the league.”