Pleasure to pain for Canaries after Premier League relegation rivals hit back
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Norwich City’s players and fans savoured a Friday night 1-0 Premier League win over Leicester City but Watford’s stunning 3-0 victory over Liverpool capped a bad Saturday for the Canaries as their closest relegation rivals responded.
City had closed the gap to safety to just four points, after a precious Carrow Road home triumph sealed by Jamal Lewis' first ever league goal. But with Aston Villa in League Cup action this weekend the rest of the bottom five all picked up points.
Watford ended Liverpool's 44-game unbeaten run in remarkable fashion at Vicarage Road. Jarrod Bowen inspired West Ham to sweep aside Southampton 3-1 while Bournemouth were only denied a victory at home to Chelsea by Marcos Alonso's 85th minute equaliser in a 2-2 draw.
That all left Daniel Farke's boys six points behind the 17th-placed Hornets with 10 league games left, after Watford's stunning win over the Reds.
"It's such an important win for us," said Watford boss Nigel Pearson, speaking to Sky Sports. "But it is one win. Our season has been tough so far. They are such an outstanding side. We had to get our performance right and be as close to our maximum as possible. I don't think it was lucky at all. It was hard-fought. We defended with a lot of discipline, energy and commitment and for us to retain our Premier League status we have to do that every game. But it is in our own hands.
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"If we can deliver that performance we must do so week in, week out. We didn't want to give them too much space in behind but we are a team who like to press so it was about getting the balance right. The players were outstanding at working together.
"I don't know how this pans out. But we have to concentrate on ourselves. If we get sidetracked by looking at what others are doing, for sure, some days it will work. But even so a couple of results have not gone our way. Whether this applies pressure or not I don't know."
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Farke had admitted before Saturday's games his side were still big favourites for the drop.
"Let people write us off. It is natural because we are in the worst position in the table," he said. "We are the only club in the Premier League to have spent less than £1m in transfer fees.
"Then you add the injuries, but we have more than 20 points with 10 games to go. We know the road is long and we are still the biggest underdog but we are back in the mix.
"When you still have a chance and you are not back in the Championship after 28 league games then you must carry on. We must show pride, belief and stick together. We know we are heading in the right direction.
"A third clean sheet in six, two wins in three at home and a battling display against Liverpool. We still have chances to win points and everything is possible."
City resume their Premier League survival quest at Sheffield United next weekend but first head to Tottenham in the FA Cup where they will be backed by 9,000 fans on Wednesday night in north London.