AUDIO: Bradley Johnson already switching Norwich City focus
Match-winner Bradley Johnson believes Paul Lambert is bringing out the best in him, as Norwich City ended their 17-year wait for a win on their Premier League travels.
The summer singing’s 42-minute header from David Fox’s beautifully flighted free-kick proved enough to secure three points at Bolton Wanderers on Saturday – City’s first victory in 33 top flight away days, since a 1-0 win at Crystal Palace in December 1994.
More importantly it earned Lambert’s men their first three points this season, and Johnson is already focused on adding to that when Sunderland come to town a week tonight.
“It’s all about the result – I’m happy I scored and to get the winner, but at the end of the day it’s three points we got and I’m over the moon,” said Johnson.
“It was a great ball in from Foxy. His delivery is top class and it was all day, but we’ve got the two goals from two set plays, which is a bonus for us. I just got on the end of it and headed it in.
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“That was our downfall over the last four games – we’ve been creating chances but not been putting them away, and today Foxy has come in and put two great balls in and we’ve got on the end of them.”
Johnson joined as a free agent from Leeds United in the summer – but already feels at home in the top flight, and believes the Canaries’ win can give the whole side the same feeling.
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“I’ve found it good so far; I think I’m playing my best football I have played under Paul Lambert – he’s a great manager and he has helped me a lot,” said the 24-year-old.
“This can lift us… You can hear what it means in the changing room – we’ve got the music on! It’s terrific to get the win. You’ve seen our results before. We’ve played well throughout the games and were unlucky not to get the result, but it’s gone for us today and we’re delighted.
“But we’re not getting too far ahead. We know we’ve got a massive game against Sunderland now and we’ll just take the games as they come.”
Johnson added: “Like I said last week, our confidence and our desire is there in abundance and we knew it was going to come sooner or later, but now we’ve got it we are not going to sit back and rely on it.
“We know we need to go and win again on Monday night, so we’re concentrating on that now. We want to get our home form and we want to make Carrow Road a fortress when teams come there, but it’s down to us to put things right and get the result.”
The City midfielder backed Marc Tierney over the headbutt that saw Ivan Klasnic sent off in first-half injury time, as well as the Canaries’ determination to hang on for their win despite a renewed effort from Bolton’s 10 men.
“I’ve seen it, he put his head to Tierney’s head, Marc says he caught him and he has gone down – it’s a sending off,” said Johnson.
“They’re going to get that extra boost and they know they have to work that bit harder, but it was down to us, our discipline to keep going and not rely on them having 10 men.
“You can tell by the players Bolton brought on, they’ve got good Premier League class here and credit to us, because we held out and we got the win.
“I think any team would have crumbled when they got the penalty and brought it to 2-1, but the spirit we have got in the team is amazing and we’ve shown that and stuck it out.”
It took Martin Petrov’s 64th-minute spot kick to really inspire the home side – the fifth penalty City have conceded in as many Premier League games this season. Not that it took the shine off the win, for Johnson.
“Again we have given away a penalty but we’re going to forget about that now because we got the result,” said Johnson. “It’s easier to forget about when you win – the gaffer said in there it’s unheard of, five games five penalties. But at the end of the day it’s the result that matters, so we don’t care what goes on in the game as long as we come away with the three points.
“Barney tried to get there and Ngog has got there quicker and he’s gone down, the ref has given it. We’ve got to be more clinical in our own box and stand up on our own feet.
“You can’t do that in this league because you are going to get punished and it’s not fair for Ruddy and Dec, who came in last week and in his first start he faces a penalty.
“We’ve got to clean up on that and we will do that. We got the three points and we’re over the moon about that.
“Russell Martin was top class at centre-back today, I thought – it’s not his normal position but we know he can play there – and the whole back four was top class.”
Johnson reserved the final word for City’s travelling army at the Reebok – about 2,500 fans sent home happy from an away ground in the top flight for the first time in 17 years.
“I’ve been here two away games now and the support has been terrific. They have stuck by us because we know we haven’t been getting the results, but it was great to see them happy today.”