Warner hails defensive display

DAVID CUFFLEY Tony Warner admitted that goalkeeping had become almost a spectator sport for him after his second Norwich City clean sheet in the space of five days.


Tony Warner admitted that goalkeeping had become almost a spectator sport for him after his second Norwich City clean sheet in the space of five days.

Warner, on loan from Premiership club Fulham until the end of the season, was able to enjoy a second successive 1-0 Coca-Cola Championship home win as Stoke, like Birmingham before them, left Carrow Road empty-handed.

But the 32-year-old said he had seldom enjoyed two quieter games, thanks to his defensive colleagues.

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Said Warner: “For me, personally, it's been two very easy outings. You don't know what it's going to be like, so when it happens you've got to enjoy them.

“I would have expected a busier time, but that's just testament to how our defence played. They're doing very, very well, restricting opposition sides to long-range shots.

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“I think over the two games I've had two shots to deal with, so that shows how well the defence played.

“That's two wins and two really good performances. I thought we were very solid. We had a hard job but we stuck to them.”

Stoke's poor display and equally poor set-pieces gave Warner a relatively untroubled afternoon.

He said: “You can only play against what's delivered towards you and they weren't difficult, but they've got good quality players and on their day I'm sure they can cause problems. But today it wasn't really their day, it was our day and you've got to take those days when they come because you have enough dark days. The lads enjoyed it - that's two really good scalps.”

Warner said he had yet to consider his long-term future, but was definitely enjoying life with City.

He said: “The position is I'm here until the end of the season and nothing's been said from Fulham or Norwich or anything, so I'm not really looking past that. That's me just being honest. Nothing's impossible, but I've only just started here, so I'm just looking forward to finishing the season.”

Manager Peter Grant hailed Warner as a “character” who had made his presence felt at Colney.

Said the 'keeper: “That's nice to know. I think it's important when you go anywhere, you've got to enjoy yourself in the right way. I do like to have a laugh around the changing room as well as working hard.

“I think when you got to places with not much personality knocking around, it can make for a difficult working atmosphere, but when you get the lads buzzing all the time it makes it easy.”

As to whether Warner was a long-term option for the goalkeeping job, Grant said: “We'll see how things go. I never count chickens with goalkeepers. At the moment, he has got the jersey and all he has to do is keep impressing.

“I'm sure Fulham will be looking at him and thinking, great, he is getting game time and keeping clean sheets.

“I spoke to Chris Coleman about him and he told me how good a 'keeper he was. If Niemi had been injured, he would've put him in, but because he wasn't, he allowed him to come that first Saturday.

“He's a character, he's been around the division and has that calmness which I felt we needed at the time.

“He made big saves at Barnsley in his first game. Even though we won the game, people tend to forget about the big saves he made in that game. He's done exceptionally well, but great credit to the boys in front of him. The back four have helped him and midfield two, Safri and Etuhu, were excellent again today. I thought Safri was brilliant and picked off areas of field to kill the game.”

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