City boss considers three at the back against West Ham
- Credit: Ben Peters/Focus Images Ltd
With more options available, Dean Smith could return to a three-man defence as Norwich City try to end their Premier League losing streak at West Ham tonight.
After 10 days to deal with extensive injury and illness issues, the Canaries gave skipper Grant Hanley and Turkey international Ozan Kabak welcome minutes in the 1-0 win at Charlton in the FA Cup on Sunday.
Ben Gibson was on the bench but it seems he could come in as part of a formation change against the fifth-placed Hammers.
“We went three at the back against Tottenham and I thought we played really well there,” Smith said, referring to a 3-0 loss last month in which chances for a better result were wasted.
“You have to get the balance right to go and play that system, so it’s something we’ve been looking at and a couple of formation changes are in our mind.”
Former Liverpool loanee Kabak made his 100th senior appearance in club football but has struggled for form and fitness after having glandular fever in November.
“We’re working with him to help him improve as a player, both tactically and technically,” City’s chief continued.
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“At 21 years old, to have played 100 games at a very good level, not just with ourselves but with Liverpool in the Premier League as well - we’re working with him and want to make him a better player.
“We want to help him and he is certainly open to improvement.”
Dimitris Giannoulis, Christos Tzolis and Kieran Dowell were taken off at half-time on Sunday and Smith is challenging the trio to respond positively.
“I just felt that they needed to make more impact on the game,” he said of that triple change. “Dimi had made a mistake and it had probably affected him more than it should have done.
“Mistakes happen in football and it’s always about what you do next. I just wanted more of an impact and I thought the subs came on and made that impact, it was what I’d asked for.
“The players know themselves that it wasn’t the best performance that we could have had, certainly for 30 minutes of that first half.
“They’ll be ready to prove people wrong – and more than prove me wrong as well.”