Russell Martin backs Norwich City to win the mind games against West Brom

Russell Martin is confident Norwich City's Carrow Road form is not in danger of drying up. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Russell Martin is confident Norwich City's Carrow Road form is not in danger of drying up. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Saturday, April 5, 2014
9:30 AM

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.

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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.”

13 comments

  • I also believe Martin is a better RB than Whittaker. Gordon Strachan believes Martin`s best position for Scotland is CB. Whittaker has been a disappointment; first injuries, then some random performances. He seemed to be a good player when we got him.....

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    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • ....Brew! ...Robert is the only one of the present team who knows that he will not get a (b)rollicking no matter how well or badly he performs...teachers pet scenario!.....

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • Brew, I gave the matter of a Sports Psychologist some thought but concluded that we would be better to employ a hypnotist who could then convince the players that they are in fact playing at home etc. He or she could then even convince RVW that he is indeed a striker and should hit the ball hard into the back of the net.

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    TrevorKeith

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • I wonder why, Stew? I wonder why Becchio`s treated as a pariah. I wonder why Wes has been marginalised. I wonder what has happened to the fighting spirit our squad once had. :-(

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • It's the points that we need to win to stay in the premiership not the mind games.

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    leslie cater

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • Another pc correct statement then. Strange how the one thing the fans have been saying was missing from the players all the sudden becomes 80% of the requirement, great to talk about it but lets see it put into action. However, I do not buy the 20% ability factor or we would all be vying for a place in the team. The fact is these are two different commodities and what we really want to see is 100% commitment blended with the greatest amount of ability the players have to give.

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    TrevorKeith

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • Cannot argue with that TK. I think Ricky is afraid of hurting his toe. Having screamed for the opportunity of a tap-in recently, it was duly put on a plate for him (by Hoolahan?). He seemed almost to withdraw his foot, a bit like a batsman, electing not to play a shot, withdraws his bat. The `mind games` are down to the manager. Failure to provide motivation and inspiration is down to him. The players lack confidence. Robert may be the only exception to that. Btw, RvW`s back-pass to the Sunderland goalie effectively provided an `assist` for Robert`s goal. The GK was undone by the lack of power in the shot, and could not use the pace on the ball to push it to safety. Ironically, that may go down as an `assist` for Ricky. 1 goal + 1 assist for €10m. Not bad. still 6 games to go though!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • As long as they are not charlatans, kenfoggo! That`s akin to looking for an honest second-hand car salesman or a functional chocolate fireguard. PS, good call by Cafu. WBA won the mind game. Never mind. Could be a nice little job for you at Peterborough next season. In the Championship, maybe? Alongside Norwich.

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    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • Those are wise words indeed, TrevorK. Poor old Cafu`s take on the matter is, inevitably, glib and simplistic. I hope his words "I don`t know who will go down but it won`t be us, that is for sure" don`t linger on to haunt him. There is an adage\cliché along the lines of "Genius is 10% inspiration, 90% perspiration". Nice thought, but not true. Genius is... genius. Then you may elect to to apply it. Which is another way of saying what TK said. I sense the sinister hand of a Sports Psychologist at `work` in Colney. Performance may not improve, but the players will be better equipped to `explain` why. Progress!

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    Mad Brewer

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • I am one of the few , it seems, that believe "sports psychologists" DO have a place in the modern game. I think it is obvious that the " mental element" has a huge reflection in the on field performance. If Norwich does not retain the services of one of these specialists , then perhaps they should?

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    kenfoggo

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • The expression " Mind over matter " could be appropiate for the City players,manager and training staff. Only in a slighty different context. More like " Never mind " and " It doesn't matter ".

    Report this comment

    norman hall

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • shouldnt even be playing get whittaker on he's more skilful

    Report this comment

    citizen

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • Whittaker did really well against Southampton, didn't he? Martin is the better RB.

    Report this comment

    Steady On

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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