City must not be bullied in the big league

Dean Smith wants no let up in the intensity from Norwich City in the Premier League

Dean Smith wants no let up in the intensity from Norwich City in the Premier League - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Dean Smith has set his Norwich City players a challenge not to be Premier League pushovers. 

The Canaries got his reign off to a winning start against Southampton, with a stirring second half display at Carrow Road full of intensity. 

City’s collective pressing was their best of the campaign, according to the data, and Smith warns that is the standard to compete in the top flight. 

“It's a really tough league. I think one of the things that you find when you come into the league is how athletic the Premier League players already are, how strong they are, and you've got to go and match that first and foremost,” he said. “If you do that, then there's no reason why you can't go and get results in this league.

"We've seen that already. This season alone, I think Brentford have come up, had some wonderful early results already and good performances.

"I was at their opening game against Arsenal and they have gone on and got some results and performances, but then we showed we could go to Brentford and get a result. You have to match the opposition, certainly in terms of athleticism.” 

City bid for a third straight Premier League win against Wolves back at Carrow Road this weekend. Smith rejects the narrative pedalled in certain quarters this season Norwich is viewed as a soft touch when they reach the big league. 

“I certainly never approached a game against Norwich and thought they were really beatable,” said . “I was fortunate to win a game here when we both got promoted, Aston Villa through the play-offs and Norwich as champions, and we won 5-1. But that was a day when Jack Grealish was on fire.

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"I think he teed a few goals up. But then we played Boxing Day that same season, I think it was at Villa Park, and I thought Norwich were probably the better team on the day and Conor Hourihane, from memory, scored a good goal.  

“I've always felt it was a well run football club from the outside. Very passionate supporters. Very supportive towards the management team. But also a team that plays exciting football, plays through the thirds. It's just finding the small little matters, the small little details that can actually change the results.”