‘There’s more to come from me’ - Hugill buzzing after late winner for City at Rotherham
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Jordan Hugill was thrilled to prove that practice pays off, after scoring his first Norwich City goal with a composed injury-time winner from the penalty spot to earn a morale boosting win at Rotherham.
The striker made his first league start and was close to turning in a Max Aarons cross in the 68th minute, only for Millers captain Michael Ihiekwe to beat him to the ball and score an own goal in the 68th minute.
Three minutes later and the hosts were reduced to 10 men after a poor tackle from defender Angus MacDonald on City midfielder Oliver Skipp and then his big moment arrived in the fifth minute of injury-time, confidently taking the ball after Emi Buendia had been fouled.
“I’ve been practising them for weeks, if not months or years now,” Hugill explained. “It’s a bit of a different technique but it works for me, that’s my routine, I’ve not changed it while I’ve been practising, whether it’s in the first minute or the last minute, nothing changes, so it’s just routine for me.
“I think I’ve rehearsed it that many times that it just comes naturally to me now. A penalty you can win some and lose some, so I’m happy to be on the good end of it.
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“Hopefully I can carry on with a run of scoring, I scored 15 goals last year, hopefully I can improve on that and it’s just the start for me.”
The former QPR, Preston and Middlesbrough forward rubbed his face dramatically, took a deep breath and then slowly made his way to the ball, with a little jink in his run up, sending keeper Jamal Blackman the wrong way to roll home - sparking huge relief among Daniel Farke’s players.
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“I can’t give my penalty techniques away!” he joked, of his methods. “I’ve been practising these for a while now and regardless of what happens, what the keeper wants to do or whatever, I’ve got my routine and I stick to that routine, regardless of if I take 20 or 50 penalties on the training pitch.
“The academy keepers are absolutely sick of me because they’re always called on for me to take penalties. I’ve been working on my technique, I hope that showed today but there’s more to come from me.”
Canaries number one Tim Krul sprinted the length of the pitch to join in the celebrations, having made a crucial penalty save from Freddie Ladapo midway through the first half with the Millers leading 1-0.
“It’s unbelievable, when you look at Tim’s career and what he’s achieved,” Hugill said of the Holland international. “To have him between the sticks, I mean, I had a Rotherham player in my ear before the penalty asking ‘what’s going to happen here?’ And I just said ‘he’s saving it’, I just had that much confidence in Tim.
“You look at someone like him between the sticks and even the defence, Ben Gibson and Grant Hanley, Max Aarons, Xavi (Quintilla), everyone’s stood up today. Credit to every single player that was on that pitch.”
The 28-year-old did also reserve words of praise for newly-promoted Rotherham however, who could feel hard done by to end up on the losing side, despite City dominating possession and having seven shots on target to the Millers’ three.
“Fair play to Rotherham, I thought they looked organised, they looked strong, they matched us up all over the pitch and credit to them,” Hugill added.
“We stood up today and everybody was counted, so it was brilliant from the lads.”