Safri - We’re up for the fight

JONATHAN REDHEAD Norwich City midfielder Youssef Safri has come out fighting and denied there is any pressure on the players ahead of Sunday's crunch match against Burnley at Carrow Road.


Norwich City midfielder Youssef Safri has come out fighting and denied there is any pressure on the players ahead of Sunday's crunch match against Burnley at Carrow Road.

After brushing off last week's training ground confrontation with Dickson Etuhu as “normal”, the tough-tackling Moroccan said no off the pitch distractions were getting in the way of preparing for the game against the Clarets.

In the week Nigel Worthington was handed an ultimatum by club owners Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones, the team suffered another demoralising defeat and his confrontation with Etuhu hit the headlines, Safri said he just wanted the team to get back on the right track.

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And he maintained that his team-mates would be more than 100 per cent focused this weekend after the capitulation in Devon.

“With some games you have to forget the result and the way that we've played the game and just get focused about the next game,” he said.

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“I think we've been working hard in training but for a few games we haven't done what we've done in training, so that's why we have to come out and do what we've done in training and perform in the right way to get the result.

“I don't think there's any pressure on the players just because we lost a few games. We have to get back on the road and the right results because I don't think any players can be happy about the results, especially if we are looking for the play-offs or promotion.

“I think we have got a good squad to do that and hopefully in this week we can turn everything in the right way.”

The 27-year-old also said the squad did not feel sad that Worthington was under the spotlight and under the greatest pressure during his time at Carrow Road.

“To be honest, we don't think about anything at the moment, other than the game,” he said. “If we think about anything else we are going to be negative so everybody's positive and thinking that hopefully we can get a good result and everybody will be happy.

“We are strong but we didn't show that in the last few games. We have to get back, right away, to what we did in the first six games. “We will do it because everybody's focused more than 100 per cent and that's what we need to do.

“I think everybody's focused about this game especially as it's on TV as well and we know our situation at the moment in the table so everybody's ready for this game to get a good, good result.”

After slamming as “lies” the way his bust-up had been covered by some sources, Safri explained what had happened between himself and Etuhu.

“It was just because we were working hard in training and maybe we were missing some tackles,” he said. “But it's normal because you have to prepare like what you will play. If I didn't do that maybe I will lose my place and if somebody didn't do that he will lose his place. But I think we are satisfied with each other to forgive each other.

“It wasn't that hard a tackle between us and that's football.

“But when we finished training we were laughing, shaking hands and giving hugs to each other. Everybody was happy, the manager, the players - even me and Dickson.

“To be honest, I had forgotten about this. It can happen anywhere, in England, anywhere in the world. I am just focused on the next game.”

Safri, meanwhile, is currently observing the strict fast from sunrise to sunset during the Moslem festival of Ramadan.

Said Worthington: “It's something in his culture that is there. We've got to live with it, he knows how to deal with it, and is used to dealing with it”

With Darren Huckerby “very much touch and go” for the Burnley game after three weeks out with a groin strain, Worthington admitted his much his star forward had been missed.

“The facts back that up. It appears that way. We should be by no stretch of the imagination a one-man team but certainly when Darren's out we struggle and that's something we as a group should be looking at to improve on.”

New signing Dion Dublin earned praise from the manager for his attitude since arriving 10 days ago.

“Dion's been first-class, very, very good. I was delighted with his input in the game last Saturday and indeed after the game as well.

“He was only just in the club, with us Thursday and Friday in training and saw the performance level there, but he's seen a completely different performance level on the Saturday. He's an old pro, been around, seen it and done it, and said his piece, which was good.”

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