Smith on daunting December for City

Dean Smith is looking forward to a testing December for Norwich City

Dean Smith is looking forward to a testing December for Norwich City - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dean Smith is relishing a daunting December in Norwich City’s Premier League survival quest. 

City hit back to earn a 1-1 draw at Newcastle to make it five points from the new head coach’s first three games in charge. 

Now the Canaries head to Tottenham on Sunday to spark a pre-festive run that sees them face four of the current top eight, plus a swift Carrow Road reunion with Emi Buendia and his old club Aston Villa. 

“We'll pay respects to every team we play against but we're not going to fear anybody,” he said. “I think our mentality has to shift that we belong in this league.

"We've just played a team at home that's in the top six (Wolves) and we were the better team so we don't have to fear any team in this league, we just have to pay them the respect they deserve. 

“We don’t have any points tally in mind. To be honest, I think we've just come in and gone, ‘Right one game at a time,’ is all we can do at the moment and just see where we are come January and then build from there.” 

NCFC Extra: Dean Smith verdict on Newcastle 1-1 Norwich City

Smith pulled no punches after a lethargic offering from the Canaries on Tyneside, despite playing against 10 men for 80 minutes following Ciaran Clark’s red card for hauling back Teemu Pukki. 

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The in form Finn rifled his fifth top flight goal of the season to salvage a point. 

“It was a hell of a finish and if there is anyone I would rely on in that situation, it is him,” said Smith. “That is why I would rather he had gone through and made it 1-0, and it stayed 11 versus 11. I thought they had a cause then and you could see that in their mentality and they defended their box really well. 

“I did think we looked a bit lethargic. We moved the ball quick enough. We spoke at length at half-time because our full backs were always going to be the out ball.

"I never felt our wide players were causing them enough problems so we tweaked it and went two up front and a diamond in midfield. That allowed our full backs to be the out balls, but we never double switched it quick enough to get our overloads.  

“I probably should have got Dimi (Giannoulis) on a little earlier, not because Brandon (Williams) was not playing well enough, but we needed that balance from the left footer. 

“But as I keep saying to the players if you don’t win, then make sure you don’t lose.

"In three games I have had with the lads they looked a hard team to beat, a hard team to play against - with the exception of the first half against Southampton. We can certainly take a lot of positives from what we have seen so far.”