Russell Martin makes positional sense for Norwich City
It may be early but Russell Martin is happy to take in the psychological boost of sitting midtable in the Premier League for as long as possible.
Despite the Canaries’ heavy defeat at Manchester City on Saturday, Norwich are 11th in the division and still have a better goal difference than seven top-flight sides – and all with having completed their trips to the Etihad, Old Trafford, Anfield and Stamford Bridge.
Almost two-thirds of the season remains, but Martin believes there is plenty to gain now from a decent Premier League position.
“It’s still early days but the mentality and psychology of it definitely helps,” said Martin.
“You would rather be in our position than the likes of Bolton or Blackburn, that’s for sure, and if we keep picking up results we will keep a little gap and the bigger the cushion come January, the nicer it will be for us.
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“We are playing well enough hopefully to stay up there for the minute. We’ve got a tough run of games so it’s important to pick up as many points at home as possible, but as long as we stay above that we’ll be happy.”
With defeats against Champions League pair Manchester City and Arsenal in the last three games, Norwich’s run to Christmas does not get much easier.
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After Saturday’s visit from this season’s surprise package Newcastle United, Norwich travel to Everton and Wolves in the space of four days before hosting in-form Tottenham on December 27.
And as the top flight’s top teams continue to break away from the rest of the field, Martin is keeping his eyes on the battles that will help City achieve this season’s sole aim, however good their start has been – Premier League survival.
“At the minute it seems to be eight teams running away and after that it’s a free-for-all – and that is what we want, just to survive,” said Martin.
“It’s all we have spoken about and that is the goal, and if we keep beating teams we expect to be battling with us, then it’s a good omen for us and anything else we get from the top six is a bonus.”
This weekend is Norwich’s final home game before Christmas, and Martin is keen for Norwich to take advantage of Carrow Road – as they have done in recent seasons.
City’s record suggests that has worked so far – outside the Premier League’s top six only Swansea can boast a better home record, and then only by a single point.
“We enjoy playing at Carrow Road and the crowd have been behind us for the two years I’ve been here certainly, and they always back us no matter what because they know from this team they are always going to get 100 per cent,” added Martin.
“Sometimes the performance isn’t there but they know they will always get 100 per cent from every single one of the lads and I think they appreciate that and they drive us on.
“We want to make it into a fortress. It’s one of the old clich�s in football but the harder it is for people to come here the better for us.”