Russell Martin backs Norwich City to win the mind games against West Brom
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Russell Martin has made no secret of his managerial ambitions when he finishes his career and the Norwich City captain already appears to have mastered the mind games.
Martin eloquently deconstructed the Canaries’ woeful away form this week at the same time he forcefully reaffirmed a belief Chris Hughton’s squad can match anyone on home turf in the Premier League. Norwich host West Brom on Saturday with a six-point gap to the bottom three at kick-off, but the Scottish international insists the real margins are even tighter.
“The mental side is more important than ability at this level,” said Martin. “A good quote I hear a lot is, ‘performance is 80pc attitude and 20pc ability’. I argued that for a long time but I agree totally now and I actually feel strongly attitude counts even more than that. There is not much ability-wise between all of the clubs down there and even those above us.
“Mentally we haven’t been strong enough away but the character and ability is not in question. It is down to mental toughness. You can say it’s about handling pressure, but that is what you bring on yourself.
“There is external pressure from media and fans, and we are aware of that, but we want to be in this league and we haven’t spent the season looking over our shoulder. We won’t do that now. If you start worrying about ifs, buts and maybes then you can tie yourself up in knots. It might sound stupid but you play your best football when its just on pure instinct and you are relaxed. We manage to do that at home when we play with a tempo and enjoy it.”
Albion have followed the trend of managerial change in vogue across the lower reaches of the Premier League in recent months with Pepe Mel replacing Steve Clarke earlier this year. City’s top brass have opted to keep faith with Hughton and Martin believes that will prove the right approach over the coming weeks.
“I think consistency in any aspect of the game is important,” said Martin. “There have been quite a few changes in the Premier League that you would say have not made a difference. The consistency for us as a football club has been a big part of it these past two or three years. We are stable, the board don’t make rash decisions and we will repay that faith at the end of the season and show it was the right way to go. I don’t know who will go down but it won’t be us, that is for sure, and perhaps then you will see changing halfway through does not quite work out as planned.”