Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Saturday, April 12, 2014
Neil Adams has dismissed the Craven Cottage curse as he looks for a winning start to his Norwich City reign at Fulham.
The Canaries have not beaten the Cottagers on home turf since 1986, when Kevin Drinkell’s winner proved the difference, but Adams knows three points would be a major boost in the club’s Premier League survival battle. Adams was in attendance in his role as a radio pundit back in 2005 when City exited the top flight in a 6-0 hammering by the Thames.
“It means nothing. I was there the day they had to win to avoid relegation and it was a horrible, horrible day for football people in this part of the country but it has no bearing on this result,” he said. “Someone told me we have not won there in 20-odd years. Whatever. It has no significance on what happens in this game. If it was the same set of players as last year or the year before then maybe, but that is not the case.”
Adams has been working over-time this week since replacing Chris Hughton to prepare his troops for a tense occasion.
“I’ll be confident when we kick off the players will be ready,” he said. “Then they have to deliver and if they do it will be all down to them in terms of taking any credit. Apart from a few shouts and a half-time team talk my work has to be done in the week. As long as I am happy they are prepared the right way I have done my job. I’ve spent hour after hour studying Fulham. They are a team who were probably lacking in a lot of confidence after Everton but they got a great boost at Aston Villa. We know what they are all about. It is just as big a game for them as us and they will have been galvanised by the result. We have to make sure whatever impetus they have taken from last weekend we can match and better it.”
Adams knows what it will take to avoid relegation being part of the squad who went down under caretaker boss Gary Megson in 1995, but the new Canaries’ boss insists there is a totally different mood around his club.
“Yes I have been in this situation, when we went down at Leeds,” he said. “It doesn’t feel like that here. It can quite easily be a sense of dejection and a lost cause mentality. I haven’t seen that at all, and I include the previous weeks under the last manager as well. There was never any negativity, no-one had given up and hopefully this is where my experience of that can help. I can tell the players what is required. When you are down there it is about heart and character. Quality of course is important and tactically you have to be right, I place a big emphasis on that, but fundamentally if you don’t have players who understand what it is about and are not prepared to put in a shift you fall away.”