Lay off Gilmour is Smith's plea

Chelsea loanee Billy Gilmour was a target for some Norwich City fans recently at Crystal Palace

Billy Gilmour was a target for some Norwich City fans recently at Crystal Palace - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Lay off Billy Gilmour is Dean Smith’s plea to Norwich City fans. 

The Chelsea youngster was targeted by a ‘minority’ of the Canaries’ travelling support in the recent 3-0 Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace. 

Smith has since sat down with the Scottish international to make it clear he remains a valued member of his squad. 

“Without a shadow of a doubt,” he said. “I was disappointed with what I heard. I didn't actually hear it at the actual game, but I had family members in the stand. I must say it was a minority.

"Billy knows that and everybody within the dressing room, and at the training ground, knows Billy’s value. Unfortunately, a big expectation comes along with this player. People have to remember he's 20 years old and stuff like that will hurt.  

“I did speak to Billy about what happened and he wants to prove people wrong. Has he been at the top of his game? No, but neither have Norwich as a team at the moment and that's something we both want to put right. 

“There's no one I see try harder than Billy in wanting to get on the ball and wanting to do well. He's very well supported here, within the group, with the players, the staff and he'll just keep working hard to get better." 

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Smith had previously hailed the impact of the club’s other high profile Premier League loan import from Manchester United, Brandon Williams. 

“We've got two loan lads, in terms of Premier League loans, in Billy and Brandon and their attitude and application has been fantastic,” said the City chief. “They both know expectation is something they have to carry given the clubs they both play for. 

“My message to anyone who was booing is to please stick with your team. I can honestly say since I've come into this club they have an honest bunch of players here to get behind. They certainly don't lose games through a lack of effort, or a lack of working very hard. Sometimes we just get beaten by better teams.” 

Smith reiterated on Friday City do not have the financial clout of relegation rivals Newcastle to buy themselves out of trouble. 

"I think everybody knows that,” he said. “But I don't think anybody can buy your way to safety. I don't think anybody can buy your way to the title, it doesn't work like that. You need good players, and you need good coaches to improve on league places.

"It's such a tough league Manchester City are running away with it because of winning 11 games on the spin. But only an exceptional team can go and do that.”