Bertrand determined to dig deep
David Cuffley Defender Ryan Bertrand is relishing the chance to complete a full season with Norwich City - in spite of the Championship survival battle now facing them.
Defender Ryan Bertrand is relishing the chance to complete a full season with Norwich City - in spite of the Championship survival battle now facing them.
It was confirmed on Christmas Eve that the 19-year-old full-back would stay on loan from Chelsea for the rest of the season.
Bertrand, who missed the 1-0 home victory over Charlton 10 days ago because of a toe injury, was swiftly restored to the starting line-up by manager Glenn Roeder - at the expense of Adam Drury - for the two Christmas fixtures.
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It was not a happy return, however, with the 3-1 defeat at Crystal Palace and 3-2 home reverse at the hands of Nottingham Forest leaving the Canaries just two points and two places above the bottom three as they head into 2009.
Nevertheless, the England Under-21 international insisted in the wake of the Forest defeat that City were good enough to fight their way clear of trouble for the second season in a row.
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“We don't want any more days like this but I believe we can turn it around because before this, the performances have been up there, we just haven't been getting the results,” said Bertrand.
“It was a funny game. We all know we could have done better. We played nowhere near to the best of our abilities but still could have had something from it.”
With games against Southampton and Doncaster - both in the bottom three - part of City's January schedule, Bertrand knows they cannot afford any more of the kind of generosity shown to fellow strugglers such as Forest and Watford.
“It's these kind of games we really need to go out and win to increase the distance between ourselves and the bottom teams, because we don't want to be involved in that any more - and I'm sure we won't be,” he said.
“On our day we're as good as any team in the Championship. We've shown it against the top teams - Birmingham, Wolves and Reading. Although we lost 2-0 at Reading, if we had scored the early chances against Reading, that would have been a different game.
“We have to carry it on like we have done in the previous games and we will be back up there, no problem.”
Bertrand has made 42 appearances in a calendar year for the Canaries since making his debut as a substitute against Bury in the FA Cup third round at Carrow Road in January.
He has chosen the weekly battle of Championship football for the next four months over the more glamorous - but potentially inactive - life at Stamford Bridge, although there was very nearly a hitch in his extended loan.
He said: “At the start Chelsea wanted me back because you have to have a certain number of home-grown players involved in the Champions League, but I decided my best option was to stay here and play my football.
“Even with days like this, when you're winning and losing it's all part of learning. The experience I'm gaining here is invaluable.”