Krul determined to help City capitalise on brilliant position
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City have pushed seven points clear of their promotion rivals and goalkeeper Tim Krul is determined to see that excellent position capitalised on fully.
Ahead of the three wins on the spin which finished a four-game goal drought and bolstered the Canaries' prospects, Daniel Farke's squad had seen Brentford claim top spot - only for the Bees to buckle under the pressure and lose three games on the spin.
Having been a key part of the City team which tensed up with four consecutive draws before sealing promotion in 2019 in the penultimate game of the campaign, then winning the title at Aston Villa on the final day, Krul is desperate to avoid late-season nerves again.
“It’s the two-point average. We don’t really want to look anywhere else, it’s the two-point average and we’re above that by two points at the moment," said the Holland international, pointing to the points-per-game average.
“We need to get that cushion as big as possible and I think that’s our motivation. We don’t want to go to Barnsley on the last day of the season having to do something because that’s a hard place, like we’ve seen.
“So keep this level going, Tuesday at Birmingham City is another difficult game because they are fighting for their lives but exciting times for everyone I think.”
A 12th clean sheet of the season secured a hard fought 1-0 home win over survival scrappers Rotherham on Saturday, after Teemu Pukki had fired City in front in the 17th minute.
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It was a sixth clean sheet in eight league games for Krul, since returning in January from a month out with a thigh injury, to maintain the Canaries' strong defensive record of 24 goals conceded in 31 games.
“I’m just proud of how solid we are as a team because that’s been different. It’s nice that everyone’s body is on the line, Max on the line, they’re the match-winning saves we need," Krul said of that defensive steel, highlighting a crucial Max Aarons block in the second half against Rotherham.
“Defence like that is sometimes more important than scoring a goal. The confidence is there, even Zimbo (Christoph Zimmermann) stepping in with us. Ben Gibson has been an unbelievable signing for us and Grant (Hanley), he’s just stepped up how many levels, I don’t know!
“The number of headers he’s cleared again, it’s a pleasure to play behind these boys, for sure.”
The leaders are halfway through a run of four games against teams in the relegation battle, with wins against Coventry and Rotherham in the bag ahead of trips to Birmingham on Tuesday and Wycombe on Sunday - when Krul and his team-mates have to keep dealing with the pressure of being expected to win as clear favourites.
“On paper, you want to win them all, of course," the Dutchman added. "But those are the hardest ones when people are saying you’re playing the team in 22nd or 24th - this is where we need to be mentally strong and deliver, and we are at the moment.”