Manchester’s finest will not faze Norwich City defender Michael Turner
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Norwich City centre-back Michael Turner insists a testing Manchester double header this week is why he plays the game at the highest level.
Turner is ready and willing if required by Chris Hughton for the Canaries’ Capital One Cup fourth round test tonight at United before returning to the north-west to face Manchester City at the Etihad on Premier League duty. The 29-year-old believes all the expectation will be on their illustrious hosts – which could work in Norwich’s favour.
“It’s an exciting week and we’re going to go there and try to win both games,” he said. “I think the way we’ve played against Arsenal and Chelsea, who are two of the top teams, means we can take encouragement from that. We showed we can play good football against the good sides. There is obviously no pressure on us. No one expects us to go there, to go to either Manchester game, and get anything, so there is a little bit of freedom for us and hopefully we can continue the way we have been playing.
“We just have to keep believing in each other. The last four games we have played really well and we haven’t taken as many points as we would have liked. There was a big turnaround of players in the summer and it does take time for them to settle into the team and for the team to find a consistent shape, if you like.
“We feel we’re slowly getting to the place where, with how we’re playing, we can get wins.”
Turner played an integral part in Norwich’s Premier League win over Manchester United at Carrow Road last season, which proved a rare blip on their march to another title.
David Moyes has endured some difficult early days since succeeding Sir Alex Ferguson at the champions, but Hughton believes the former Evertonian was the perfect appointment.
“I’ve spoken to him on lots of occasions and he is someone I have incredible respect for,” said Hughton. “I have no doubts he would do an extremely good job there and when he was announced as the new manager I felt he was the right man. Certainly by the standards they are used to being around that top two in the table they have not started as strongly, but that for me is a reflection of just how competitive the league is this season, with the likes of Liverpool, Everton and Tottenham also having good starts. What matters is how the season progresses and your finishing position and I have no doubts United will be right up there.
“I think he’ll take this competition seriously. They are a club who want to win every game they play. The reality is that the bigger clubs have more chance of winning cup competitions. You look domestically and they have two opportunities and this is one of those.”
Hughton believes the League Cup has had something of a revival in recent seasons, with the elite and the underdogs both enjoying success.
“I think some clubs will still treat it in a different way but overall last season I detected a change in the approach to this competition,” said Hughton. “There is no doubt it is an opportunity to use a squad but that is not a detrimental thing with the quality of most Premier League squads. As a manager it allows you to build that competitive edge with lads who perhaps have been just short of featuring in the league.”