Worthy praises 'hard working' Canaries
Norwich City may have conceded an injury-time equaliser at Elland Road on Saturday - but Nigel Worthington refused to be downhearted after the game. The City boss felt his team had given an excellent account of themselves against an in-form Leeds outfit and he wasn't going to let Eddie Lewis' brilliant free-kick completely spoil his afternoon.
Norwich City may have conceded an injury-time equaliser at Elland Road on Saturday - but Nigel Worthington refused to be downhearted after the game.
The City boss felt his team had given an excellent account of themselves against an in-form Leeds outfit and he wasn't going to let Eddie Lewis' brilliant free-kick completely spoil his afternoon.
Worthington was naturally disappointed when that one went in but he was keen to accentuate the positives as he reflected on a result that few would have predicted after the events at Selhurst Park two weeks earlier, when a poor City side were hammered 4-1 by Crystal Palace.
“First and foremost it was a good, solid away performance - and we needed that because Elland Road is a very tough place to come to,” he said.
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“It was important that we came here in a positive frame of mind and relished the challenge, because coming to Leeds is just that, a challenge. It's a great ground, a great atmosphere and we needed to get our teeth into the game from minute one, which we did.
“We went to Palace two weeks ago and we didn't turn up. We certainly turned up today. We have come away with a very good result and we were only a few minutes away from coming away with an excellent result.
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“We worked hard throughout. We didn't pass the ball as well as we can do in the first half but we passed it a lot better in the second and caused Leeds all sorts of problems.
“Those are the sort of standards we have been looking for every time we have gone away and we have not had them in four or five games this season, which we are hugely disappointed with. What you saw today was much more like it and we now need to continue in the same vein.”
Worthington's decision to drop striker Robert Earnshaw in favour on an extra midfielder provided a pre-match surprise, but the ploy worked well with Andy Hughes and Paul McVeigh both hitting the target during an excellent 30 minute spell in the second half.
The manager was delighted with the contribution of both players as City recovered from an early deficit in heart-warming style, but made it clear that it was very much a team effort, with everyone playing their part in a performance that was unrecognisable from the limp surrender in South London a couple of weeks ago.
“We wanted to keep it tight, be nice and solid to start off with and then build on it from there,” he said. “Had we been chasing the game Robert would have been on the pitch a lot sooner but the players were doing their jobs and everything was going okay so he got on very late.
“Andy has got a huge amount of energy and he has done a good job for us today. He was disciplined in the role he was given and has got a goal for his efforts.
“Paul also worked very hard. Between scoring and having a hand in goals he has been quite important for us recently and to have his contract extended was a nice reward for him and pleasing for us too.
“But everywhere you looked there were players working hard, it wasn't just those two, and that is very pleasing from my point of view.”
While Saturday's result could have been even better it still maintained an encouraging run that has seen the Canaries take 11 points from a possible 18 since being beaten by local rivals Ipswich Town at the beginning of February. As a result City are now just eight points adrift of the play-off zone and although finishing in the top six is still an extremely long-shot Worthington isn't giving the up the ghost yet and is already looking forward to his side's next game - an attractive looking home clash against a faltering Sheffield United outfit.
“There is always a chance while it is mathematically possible,” he said. “We have got a great game next weekend, one to relish, against Sheffield United. We're at home and hopefully the crowd will be behind us. We have got three wins, two draws and one defeat in our last six games and we want to build on that.”