City take 'massive step' to the Premier League admits McLean

Emiliano Buendia of Norwich celebrates scoring his side’s 1st goal during the Sky Bet Championship m

Emi Buendia's first half strike proved the winner against Brentford - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City midfielder Kenny McLean admitted the Canaries have taken a ‘massive step’ towards the Premier League following their 1-0 win over promotion rivals Brentford at Carrow Road. 

Emi Buendia got the only goal of the game in the first half to put the Canaries 10 points clear of their nearest rivals and 13 points ahead of third place. 

“It’s a massive step – we knew the position that we could put ourselves in but there’s 12 games to go so we will see what happens,” said McLean. “It was always going to be a tough game but we dug in and got the job done.” 

Buendia proved the difference between the two sides as the little Argentine ghosted in from the right flank before arrowing a left-footed shot into the bottom corner. 

It was Buendia’s 10th goal of the season and McLean believes the 24-year-old showed why many consider him to be the best player outside the top-flight. 

“He’s a joy to play with and he just keeps producing - we’re lucky to have him really,” McLean told Sky Sports. “I think he’s the standout player in this league – I don’t think anyone would argue with that. Hopefully he can keep doing that.” 

City’s defensive display was perhaps the most impressive aspect on what could prove to be a defining result in their season. 

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Despite being the top goalscorers in the Championship, Brentford were kept at arm’s length all evening with McLean’s partnership with Oliver Skipp helping to restrict the service to the division’s top scorer Ivan Toney. 

Only a late flurry provided any alarm in the second period and McLean believes City are proving to be a more rounded side to the one that stormed to the Championship title in 2019. 

“I think we are conceding a lot less goals and we’re harder to beat, harder to play against,” he added. “I don’t have the words for Skippy... this season he’s played every minute... outstanding.” 

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