Robin Sainty: Tettey is proof that City have gained strength from adversity
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
The sort of footballer that fans come to idolise tends to have a bit of glamour about him; an acrobatic goalkeeper perhaps, or a prolific goalscorer or silky midfielder.
A hulking Afro Norwegian who looks ungainly in possession doesn't really fit that bill, and yet it is difficult to believe that City would have returned from the Vitality Stadium with a point had it not been for the efforts of Alex Tettey.
Not only did the returning skipper provide the sort of onfield leadership that had been sorely lacking against Aston Villa while snuffing out any signs of danger in front of City's back four, but he also excelled at centre back after Ben Godfrey became the latest victim of the curse that appears to have singled out that area of the squad.
Despite City looking comfortable throughout a first half largely lacking in goalmouth incident, I suspect that I wasn't alone as Godfrey left the field in thinking that the fates were once again conspiring to ensure that the Canaries would be coming home empty-handed.
In fact, City then proceeded to dig in and were able to dominate possession for long periods while looking as watertight at the back as they have all season as Tettey, Ibrahim Amadou and the returning Tom Trybull ensured that Tim Krul was rarely forced to make a save.
You may also want to watch:
I will readily admit that I had expected that we would see relatively little of Tettey this season given City's abundance of midfielders and Trybull's emergence as Daniel Farke's preferred holding player, but although he may be in the twilight of his career he brings a huge presence to the side and was absolutely immense on Saturday.
It's also important to emphasise the contribution of Amadou, whose swift integration despite speaking limited English and being asked to play in a position in which he has had virtually no experience in his adult career, speaks volumes for the togetherness in the City dressing room.
- 1 Norwich City transfer rumours: Canaries make bid for Peterborough ace
- 2 Could Canaries benefit from Chelsea appointing Tuchel?
- 3 Former Arsenal and Norwich midfielder set to sign for Saints
- 4 Paddy Davitt: City's bold call and the status quo
- 5 Boro set to sign Premier League forward ahead of Norwich trip
- 6 'There isn't one team that stands out' - Bees' boss on promotion fight
- 7 Arsenal end chase in City star with Real Madrid signing
- 8 'He came crying' - Former coach details Giannoulis left-back conversion
- 9 Connor Southwell: Sorting Todd’s contract is City’s next big mission
- 10 The story of Alex Neil and Jordan Hugill's trainers
He has been thrown in at the deep end, and of course he has made mistakes, but his athleticism and ability to read the game augur well not only for the continuation of his temporary role but also for when he is finally able to resume his natural position.
Despite looking, unsurprisingly, tentative in the opening stages, City visibly grew in confidence as the game developed and, just as it was hard to find many positives from the Aston Villa game it was virtually impossible to find any negatives on Saturday.
Whereas the City players had looked worn down by the cumulative effect of the injury crisis against Villa, now they looked rejuvenated and re-energised, inevitably helped by the return of the likes of Trybull, Tettey, Krul and Onel Hernandez.
The latter may have only had 10 minutes to impress, but the sight of him setting off on a bullocking run down the left wing to help to set up a late chance for Trybull was a timely reminder of what we have been missing since Anfield.
With Godfrey declaring himself fit for Sunday at an event on Tuesday it's been a good week for City and with another week's training under his belt we will hopefully see Mario Vrancic return to the squad as well.
Does this mean that a corner has been turned? It's much too soon to say, but the way in which everyone, including the fans who were wonderful at Bournemouth, has stuck together over a very difficult period suggests that the character and camaraderie in the squad are undamaged.
There is no doubt that strength can be gained from adversity and for me the most important element of the Bournemouth game was that City defended like a Premier League side. If they build on that and add it to their attacking prowess then the prospects are much better than they looked three weeks ago.