Lou Macari warns Stoke City not to underestimate Norwich City

Arsenal's Jack Wilshire battles for the ball with Stoke City's Peter Crouch, during Saturday's Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire. Arsenal's Jack Wilshire battles for the ball with Stoke City's Peter Crouch, during Saturday's Premier League match at the Britannia Stadium, Stoke-on-Trent. Picture: Martin Rickett/PA Wire.

Monday, March 3, 2014
1:41 PM

Former Stoke City manager Lou Macari has warned the Potters to not allow complacency to creep in ahead of their trip to Norfolk this weekend.

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The Staffordshire side put a major dent in Arsenal’s Premier League title hopes on Saturday, beating Arsene Wenger’s side 1-0 at the Britannia Stadium.

The Canaries did not enjoy a similarly successful weekend though, losing 4-1 at Aston Villa yesterday after sacrificing an early 1-0 lead thanks to a goal from the recalled Wes Hoolahan.

Macari, writing in his regular column for the Stoke Sentinel newspaper, said: “Stoke should be okay for another season in the Premier League, particularly after that win over Arsenal, but they will also know there is still work to be done. That begins at Norwich on Saturday and that is never a fixture to take lightly.

“The tight ground and loud atmosphere has served Norwich well in the Premier League and may once again be the difference between survival and relegation.

“They took a hammering at Aston Villa, but it was only a pretty poor 15-minute spell that cost them when they conceded all those goals in the first half.”

The game is seen as crucial to the Canaries’ hopes of avoiding relegation, as one of three upcoming home games against teams close to them in the bottom half of the table, with West Brom and Sunderland both on the horizon.

Victory would see Chris Hughton’s side, on 28 points currently, leapfrog Stoke, who are currently on 30 points in 13th place and six points clear of the relegation zone.

Former Celtic and Manchester United midfielder Macari continued: “They’ll be playing under a lot of pressure come the Stoke game, while Hughton has almost learned to live with talk of him being sacked.

“I’d expect him to get a reaction from his players and that makes the afternoon all the tougher for the Stoke lads. But with that Arsenal victory under their belts, they will be full of confidence.”

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