Strihavka goal is perfect fillip

PUBLISHED: 09:00 17 September 2007 | UPDATED: 10:33 14 September 2010

CHRIS LAKEY

Czech striker David Strihavka carries a notebook and pen with him wherever he goes, and relies on TV and radio to improve his English - but proved beyond doubt that actions speak louder than words with his first Norwich City goal at the weekend.

Czech striker David Strihavka carries a notebook and pen with him wherever he goes, and relies on TV and radio to improve his English - but proved beyond doubt that actions speak louder than words with his first Norwich City goal at the weekend.

The 24-year-old struck a quarter of an hour from time to seal a 1-0 win over bogey side Crystal Palace - and City, like Strihavka, look in much ruder health for it.

It was a win that takes City up seven places to 13th in the Championship table and left Strihavka delighted to have finally shaken off the illness which has affected the early stages of his debut season in England since a reported £650,000 summer move from Banik Ostrava.

“I am so happy,” said Strihavka, a second-half sub. “My first goal is very important for me and this is a very important victory for all the team - the most important victory.

“I was ill last week, but today I am very good although the last 30 minutes was very difficult, the high tempo, very difficult - I am so happy.”

Strihavka's introduction to English football has not been an easy one, but last season's leading scorer in the Czech League, believes things are looking up now that he is overcoming the language barrier.

“Yes, I enjoy England, I like England, I like Norwich - I am so happy,” he said. “I am teaching alone, watching TV, listening to the radio and talking with the guys in the changing room. It is better - after two months.”

Man of the match Darel Russell revealed just what it is like for Strihavka in the Canaries dressing room.

“He writes everything down,” said Russell. “He has a conversation and he has a little book with him all the time. He writes it down, translates it himself and five minutes later you hear him laughing to himself because he has just realised what the boys have said to each other.”

“It's massive for him - it's taken him a little time to settle in. On Thursday he scored two great headers in training in our practice match and I said to him before the game he was going to come on and knock a header in and he has come in and done that - it's brilliant for him and I am really pleased for him. Hopefully he can push on and get a few more.”

Victory delighted manager Peter Grant, who will sit more comfortably with three points under his belt and visits to Charlton and Wolves to come this week.

“I am absolutely delighted with the win,” he said. “It is a massive three points for us. They know the record has not been that great against Crystal Palace over the years, so all in all I thought we deserved to win the game. We know we can play much better, but if somebody said to me you won't play well but you will get all three points I would have taken that before the game started.”

Grant said the City players deserve credit for helping Strihavka settle in.

“He was in the hotel and because we had so many new signing it was like a family in there, so I think they have all been good to him and made him understand quickly and that's helped him settle - and it's always important when you go into a new country,” said Grant.

“I am very fortunate that they are a lovely bunch of boys here and they have made it easier for me - it can be difficult because sometimes people can be isolated, but they have been very good with him, simple things like taking him out to dinner or inviting him round for dinner. That has been important in him being part of the group.”

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