Perfect lift for Pattison
David Cuffley Darel Russell reckons fellow City midfielder Matty Pattison found the perfect place to put a turbulent week behind him - out on the pitch in front of more than 25,000 fans.
Darel Russell reckons fellow City midfielder Matty Pattison found the perfect place to put a turbulent week behind him - out on the pitch in front of more than 25,000 fans.
Manager Glenn Roeder kept faith with Pattison at the end of a week in which his first permanent signing had been arrested for drink-driving and the subject of back page exposure in a national newspaper, naming the 21-year-old in his starting eleven against Colchester United.
And, after the Canaries ended a run of three straight defeats with a badly-needed 5-1 Championship victory over the bottom club - by far their biggest win of the season - Russell said his team-mate's inclusion in the side had been the best possible boost.
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He said: “It's good for him to get out there on a Saturday and get any frustrations or problems that might have arisen during the early part of the week off his mind. There's no better place to do it than out there on the football pitch.”
Pattison earned City a penalty before being substituted after 54 minutes, and Russell said: “I don't think he's shown any difference today to what he normally does. He was out there, played well, worked hard for the team and did his job.”
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Roeder was delighted at the way fans and team-mates alike rallied behind Pattison, who left the field to a rousing ovation.
Said the City boss: “I was very pleased. I wasn't surprised by our players' reaction to him being substituted. It's been a tough week for him but what pleased me was the kindness and understanding of our supporters.
“He's distraught about what happened last weekend. He knows he was wrong, he regrets it immensely and he'll take
his punishment when it comes along like a man. And we, as a group of players and staff, we're all family.
“As I've said, if you haven't made a mistake, you throw the first stone and there'll never be a stone thrown. All of us have made mistakes in our lives that we regret and there was no way we were going to ostracise him and put him outside our circle. He was always going to stay inside and we were going to look after him and get him through this period.
“It was difficult for him to come out here today and play and at the end, when he came off, he was quite emotional, which I think is also a strength rather than a weakness because he realises he was wrong last weekend and he wants to repay our kindness, which is deserved, by playing as well as he can for Norwich between now and the end of the season and having a long career here. He is basically a good man, a young man that made a horrendous mistake.”
Roeder said he had no doubts about picking Pattison.
“I always pick the team that I think is going to win the game,” he said. “He's trained really well this week and I didn't want to start the game being too open with the two wingers starting. I wanted to make sure that we were as solid as we could be, defensively.”
If Pattison's inclusion was not in question, at least in the manager's mind, Russell had been a doubtful starter.
“I was probably a little bit of a doubt at the start of the game. I woke up real bad and ill today, a bit of a cold and stuff, but I said to the gaffer I wanted to play and he said 'No problem' and it was just good to get through the game. I'm a bit devoid of energy right now.”
The mood had been positive all week despite City's poor run, said Russell.
“It was a great, great week training. We were in all week, we broke the week up with a little bowling session with all the boys. It was good, the boys have trained well and enjoyed it and I think we've gone out there and shown it today.
“I can't believe how fired up everyone was before the game. Everyone was really raring to go and get out there and I think we got a result that showed what we can do when we get ourselves properly fired up.”