QPR’s Derry tips Norwich City for the top

Queens Park Rangers midfielder Shaun Derry believes Norwich City will stay among the promotion challengers in the Championship – and that their home crowd will play a big part in their success.

Derry said after the leaders’ 1-0 defeat at Carrow Road: “When you come to Norwich, they’ve got fantastic fans and they get really behind the team and it’s intimidating here.

“They will win a lot of games here and I’m sure they will be in the top echelons of the league.”

The 33-year-old Derry has revelled in his new lease of life with Rangers this season and is not discouraged by three defeats in the past five matches after going unbeaten for the first 19.

He said: “You’ve got to hurt when you’re losing games because if you don’t there is something drastically wrong. We were hurt when we lost to Watford and Leeds and we responded in the right way.

“You’ve got no divine right to win games in this league. Everybody is striving for the same thing.”

He said he felt Rangers performed well despite the result, especially after losing defender Matt Connolly to a 51st-minute red card for a trip on Grant Holt.

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“I think we’re a bit disappointed at the end of it to concede the defeat,” he said.

“I know they had some counter-attacks in the second half, which they are bound to have if we commit the amount of players we did, but all in all I’m really pleased with the way we responded after the goal.

“You can look at the game in two ways. If you look at the amount of pressure and where the two defending lines were, I felt Norwich were lying a lot more deep than we were and that’s credit to us because we were putting them under a great deal of pressure at times in the second half and they were getting us on the counter-attack.

“That’s what happens in football when you’re chasing games.”

As for Connolly’s dismissal – he was sent off after just 25 minutes on QPR’s previous visit to Carrow Road in 2008 – Derry argued that it may not have been a last man challenge.

“It’s the letter of the law, I suppose, and sometimes you have to swallow those decisions but I think if you’re looking at the player going through in Grant Holt, with the greatest respect to the lad, he’s not the quickest centre-forward and I felt that Kyle Walker was coming across on the cover and I don’t think it was as clear-cut as it actually looked,” he said.