Now watch us go - Russell
CHRIS LAKEY Canaries midfielder Darel Russell believes Norwich City are capable of “doing a Sunderland” under new manager Glenn Roeder.The new City boss had an immediate impact yesterday, with the Canaries battling back from 2-0 down at half-time to rescue a well-deserved point against the old enemy.
Canaries midfielder Darel Russell believes Norwich City are capable of “doing a Sunderland” under new manager Glenn Roeder.
The new City boss had an immediate impact yesterday, with the Canaries battling back from 2-0 down at half-time to rescue a well-deserved point against the old enemy.
City are still languishing at the bottom of the table, three points adrift, but Russell believes that the play-offs are more than just a fantasy.
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Roy Keane's arrival at the Stadium of Light last August sparked a stunning revival, with the Black Cats leaping from 23rd in the table after an inauspicious start under Niall Quinn to the top of the table by the end of the campaign.
It's a situation Russell believes the Canaries should attempt to repeat.
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“Our aim is obviously the play-offs, that's what we wanted to do from the start of the season,” he said. “Sunderland did it last year and they got themselves promotion.
“I don't see why our aims and ambitions shouldn't change. If we strive for the stars and reach the moon it is a good enough achievement.
“We are settled now, we know where we are going now for the foreseeable future, we need to knuckle down, we have a job in hand now, we have an aim and the aim is to get ourselves out of that bottom three and push on.”
Roeder has history on that score - dragging Newcastle out of a huge hole in the middle of the 2005-06 season when he took over from Graeme Souness. His Norwich career is still counted in days, but Russell says the effect is noticeable.
“He has had a big impact,” said the 27-year-old. “He has got his ideas now and he is trying to implement them to the lads. I think he motivated everyone, but also being a derby, a new manager and being where we are in the league is motivation enough for us to go out there and put a performance in.
“It is a different type of pressure - we could have crumbled under that pressure, but everyone stood up and wanted to be counted and get on the ball and play. We have done it, I don't know how it looked, but it felt from my point of view we seemed to play a bit of football today, we wanted to knock it around as a team and do well.”
Roeder wasted no time in bringing Lee Clark in as his assistant, and Russell hopes he will learn as much now as he did back in the autumn of 1999, when City played Fulham four times in league and cup in the space of six weeks.
“I remember playing against Lee then, I remember he gave me the run-around, but I learned a lot from playing against him and hopefully from my point of view being a midfielder as well he can pass on his knowledge of that position and improve me as a player and improve the rest of the team as well,” said Russell.
The City man is convinced yesterday's performance deserved more than just a point.
“Most definitely,” he said. “We created enough chances in the first half and their goalkeeper had a great day. Dion (Dublin) had a couple, even big John (Hartson) when he came on had a couple. We had chances - Jamie (Cureton) missed one from six yards and then later has scored one, so we had plenty of chances to go and win the game - chances to score five goals today.”
The atmosphere was typically red hot, and Russell said it helped City.
“It is a derby but it is not only a derby - we are at the bottom of the league and I think that even a win today wouldn't have got us out of the bottom of the table so there were a lot of things riding on today's game and we all wanted to do it for the right reasons,” he said.
“There was a point in time when I heard the crowd singing and resonating and you can feel that on the pitch and that's always good, but I feel that the players on the team had a nice atmosphere about ourselves.
“We worked hard as a team and I will be honest we came in at half-time and I couldn't believe we were 2-0 down. I don't know where on earth those two goals came from, but it seems to be it's that kind of rub of the green when you are at the wrong end of the table and you are playing someone at the right end of the table.”