Lee - I'll fight to the very end for Norwich
David Cuffley Striker Alan Lee revealed he was determined to battle through a full 90 minutes on his Norwich City debut to boost their survival bid, admitting: 'I gave it my all.'
Striker Alan Lee revealed he was determined to battle through a full 90 minutes on his Norwich City debut to boost their survival bid, admitting: “I gave it my all.”
The 30-year-old Republic of Ireland international, on loan from Crystal Palace for the rest of the season, gave the Canaries added physical presence in attack as they secured a valuable 1-1 draw against promotion-chasing Birmingham City at St Andrew's.
The result took Bryan Gunn's men up one place in the table to 20th ahead of a fortnight's break and made it 10 points from the last five games.
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For only the second time this season, the Canaries used no substitutes and Lee was feeling the effects at the end of what was at times a bruising battle, especially with Birmingham defenders Liam Ridgewell and Franck Queudrue.
He said: “It was a tough game. I've not played in two and a half, three weeks, so I had a bit of cramp at the end but I'm just delighted with the result. We really battled hard and gave the fans something to smile about, I think.
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“It was very tough but that's partly because you can't play football on that pitch, it's got to be launched. They've got some big lads but my job is to upset them today and I think I did that.”
Lee learned he was in the starting line-up a couple of hours before kick-off.
He said: “I prepared in the right way. I knew that with the carry-on over the last two or three weeks I might not be 100 per cent, but I gave it my all.
“I cramped up but I think if you keep stretching you can get through the game.”
Lee came close to marking his debut with a goal, firing just over the bar after only three minutes and then, after the break, having a goalbound header cleared almost off the line by Sebastian Larsson, soon after Sammy Clingan's superb free-kick had cancelled out Cameron Jerome's first-half opener for the Blues.
Said Lee: “The first one was a toe poke but it bobbled and just went over the bar and then there was a great tackle from Quedrue to deny me, but I really enjoyed it today. I went close but it's nice to have the chances.”
Former Ipswich striker Lee rated his new team-mates' performance as “very impressive” and believes he and fellow Irish loan striker David Mooney have the basis of a good understanding.
He said: “The players really worked hard. The pitch was absolutely terrible, you can't play football. They were difficult conditions and we handled it very well.
“It's the first time I've come across David but we're room-mates and he's a lovely lad. His work ethic was brilliant today and we hooked up a few times when we could and I think we gave them a tough day today.”
He added: “The supporters were brilliant. Every Norwich fan I've met so far has been really supportive and I thank them for that.
“I went into training the last few days and it was so nice, living at home coming into a nice training ground with a lovely atmosphere and with a couple of weeks training under my belt with the lads and some extra fitness work, I will be all guns blazing come Sheffield Wednesday at home.”
Gunn said: “Alan Lee was fantastic. That's typical Alan. I think he got his first bout of cramp on 60 minutes, but he was such an important player in the penalty boxes.
“Obviously he was marking (Radhi) Jaidi at set plays and he is one of their main threats so we couldn't take him off. But he wanted to stay on, he wanted to come to Norwich and help Norwich City stay in the Championship - we have that sort of commitment from all the loan players.”
Birmingham full-back Queudrue was less complimentary after Lee was shown the yellow card for catching the defender with his arm just before half-time. The Frenchman admitted he blew a fuse after an angry exchange with the striker, and City goalkeeping coach Paul Crichton ushered Lee off at half-time to guard against any further clash.
“If he swings his arm, then he swings his arm and I have no problem about it, but he actually caught me,” said Queudrue. “It was the referee's decision and obviously I was a little bit upset.
“He said something to me but that will stay between us. I think I saw a little too much red.
“The thing is the players play and the referee has to make the decision. From the angle the referee might not have been able to see it, so I was a bit upset with that. He only caught my ear.”