Iwan Roberts: A man who knows the importance of scoring against Sheffield United
PUBLISHED: 17:30 24 January 2019 | UPDATED: 19:07 24 January 2019
Eastern Daily Press © 2004
All in all I think it’s fair to say last weekend wasn’t a bad one at all for Norwich City.
They got back to winning ways with that terrific 3-1 win over Birmingham and then had the added bonus that Swansea beat tomorrow’s opponents Sheffield United and Nathan Jones had his first win as Stoke boss when they beat top-of-the-table Leeds at home.
It was Norwich’s first league win in five outings and it was just what was needed with three huge games coming up in the next three weeks. It wasn’t just the three points that was all important – the performance in the first half was excellent. Ok, the second half never really got going, with Norwich’s performance not reaching the heights it did in the first, but let’s be honest, the game was done and dusted at half-time and Norwich were in cruise control against Garry Monk’s men.
I don’t think there’s too much love lost between United boss Chris Wilder and City’s Daniel Farke, ever since Wilder threw his toys out of the pram and had a pop about Farke’s poor preparations when Norwich arrived late at Bramall Lane back in September 2017. It was a game Norwich won 1-0 so I’d say by the scoreline that the team’s preparation that day was spot on.
Of course Wilder was livid about the Norwich team coach arriving at the ground late, which really had an adverse effect on his players and he’s never forgiven the Norwich head coach for it!
In my last season at Norwich I only scored seven goals – mind you, I only started 14 games as we had some top class forwards at the club so competition for a starting place was fierce, to say the least. I’d turned 35 and knew I wasn’t going to be starting every game and I 100pc accepted that, but I knew I still had a part to play.
The most important goal I scored that season came on January 31 at Carrow Road and it came against Neil Warnock’s Sheffield United side who were, along with us, flying high. Mind you, we were top of the league so they weren’t quite as high!
It was a game of few chances and so when I smashed one in with my right foot from about 15 yards past Paddy Kenny in the United goal after great work from Darren Huckerby down the left-hand side, you got the feeling that it was going to be the winner, which it proved to be.
It was a very important win for us, as we hadn’t started the New Year very well, having lost 1-0 at home to Bradford and had that unbelievable 4-4 draw away to Rotherham, so we knew the importance that those three points were and boy did we celebrate after the game.
There’s a lot been said over the past week about Leeds United and their manager Marcelo Bielsa after he sent a club employee to watch Derby training before the two teams clashed a couple of days later. I’ve heard Martin Keown call it criminal and I’ve heard people say that Leeds should be deducted points because of their actions.
The fact of the matter is Leeds have broken no rules – and please don’t tell me the code of conduct between managers has been broken as there isn’t one. Players cheat on the pitch and their managers don’t say a word. Players will dive to win a penalty and their managers turn the other cheek and say nothing, so don’t give me the code of conduct rubbish.
I’ve known plenty of managers who have asked one of his players to ring a friend who’s out of favour at a club we’ve been playing against in a couple of days to try and get the team from him so he can gain an advantage. There was no code of conduct then and that used to happen a lot, believe you me.
From what I hear and what I’ve seen over the past week or so, Bielsa is a workaholic and won’t leave any stone unturned to be successful in winning promotion for Leeds and get them back into the Premier League. Maybe some of those managers who felt the need to criticise him last week were a bit embarrassed by how thorough his preparations are before every game...