Premier League survival is the only way Norwich City’s squad can make amends
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Russell Martin views the appointment of Neil Adams as a line in the sand in Norwich City’s ongoing battle for Premier League survival. Here he tells PADDY DAVITT why.
"Gary Holt worked with Neil, and I know him very well, and he speaks extremely highly of him. He is a good football man. This is his chance. This is a trial period to stake his claim for the longer term."
Russell Martin realises the only fitting way to make amends for Norwich City’s squad letting down Chris Hughton is to clinch Premier League survival.
The Canaries’ club captain was the official spokesman for the dressing room at Neil Adams’ unveiling and Martin made no attempt to dispute the players’ culpability in a chain of events which culminated with ‘Team Hughton’s’ exit.
“We are obviously disappointed to see three men go who we all respected and had good relationships with but unfortunately it has not worked out and we must take a big part of the responsibility as players,” he said. “Any manager at any football club has to rely on players to get results for them.
“They wouldn’t have been in this situation if we had produced better results. We haven’t performed consistently enough for them.
“When Paul (Lambert) left the building we were all on our summer holidays so there was no-one around the place. This time the circumstances are different. We have five massive games. We have to shoulder a lot of the responsibility. We have had some good performances without the results and other times we have been nowhere near good enough.
“But I still feel, for me, there is no major crisis. I would not come out and say that we will stay up if I didn’t feel it. We are five points above the bottom three and it is up to us to make sure it stays that way.”
Martin was in contact with Hughton and his assistant Colin Calderwood within hours of the Sunday night decision. Claims the previous manager had lost the dressing room fuelled by his perceived negative approach do not stand up to closer scrutiny for the defender.
“Each manager is different and as a player you have to buy into that or you find yourself out of the picture pretty quickly,” said Martin. “You have to do what is required in any walk of life. The manager is the boss of the football club and you want to impress him by doing anything you are told. Regardless of how you approach the game we step over the white line on a pitch and we haven’t done it enough for him. People will have opinions on a manager’s playing style but irrespective of what we feel as players the majority are disappointed.
“Had we stopped playing for Chris? No. The boys were still battling for him. We were trying everything for him and you saw that on Saturday, but it has not been good enough for a while.
“There is no animosity there. I’ve spoken to Colin on Sunday night and he wishes the boys all the best and I will hope to speak to Chris at some point. We exchanged texts and you wish them all the best as well. We move on now and get behind Neil.”
Martin believes the highly-regarded Adams’ internal promotion can have the desired effect.
“Neil has played at this level. He knows what the club expects and whether he is working with the young players or the senior professionals he knows what he wants,” he said. “It is about getting people on board with how you want to play. It is about getting people to play for you and to believe in you and I believe in Neil and so do the lads, especially after our first meeting. Everyone wants to be in the Premier League and he is the right man to lead us. To produce an FA Youth Cup winning team against clubs spending millions of pounds at that level is a mark of the man. Gary Holt worked with him, and I know him very well, and he speaks extremely highly of him. He is a good football man. This is his chance. This is a trial period to stake his claim for the longer term.”
Martin also realises the pivotal role he has as one of the senior voices in the dressing room to soothe that transition.
“We are going to be important these next few weeks making sure everyone is behind Neil,” he said. “People like myself, Jonny Howson, John (Ruddy), Snods (Robert Snodgrass), Seb (Bassong) need to make sure we rally round. West Brom was not a pleasant experience for anyone, but Fulham will be the biggest game some have played in their careers.
“People keep saying the run-in after that is frightening. It is not. At home I fancy us against anyone. I am certain we will get points in those last four games.”