Ryan Bennett - No danger of Norwich City finishing Premier League season with a whimper
PUBLISHED: 14:38 23 April 2012 | UPDATED: 15:58 23 April 2012
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Defender Ryan Bennett said there was no question of Norwich City winding down towards the summer break as they slipped to their sixth defeat in 10 Premier League games.
The Canaries were beaten 2-0 by relegation-threatened Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park – where they have now won just once in 21 visits.
Though they are 99.9 per cent sure to be safe, Paul Lambert’s men needed a point from Saturday’s match to be mathematically certain of another year in the top flight. Now they must wait until at least Tuesday night, when defeat for Bolton at Aston Villa would guarantee their place next season. But despite their below-par performance, Bennett said it was not a case of taking the foot off the pedal.
“In this league you have motivation every week,” he said. “You come up against teams like this. They’re at the bottom of the league but it’s a beautiful stadium and you look at the players they have.
“They’ve still got a big battle on their hands but so have we. We want to finish as high as we can. We’re disappointed with today’s result but I’m sure we’ll pick ourselves up and go again.
“It has been a good season – we can’t forget that. We want to finish the last three games as well as we can. Ideally we’d want to win them all. That’s something that’s instilled throughout the club and we’ll try to turn it around and get a couple of results before the end of the season.”
Centre-back Bennett was playing his 40th competitive match of the season, five more than any of his new team-mates, after making 35 first team appearances for Peterborough before arriving at Carrow Road at the end of February. But the 22-year-old did not feel tiredness was a factor in the defeat, for him or the team.
“I’ve played a lot of games this season and we didn’t have any break at Peterborough last year,” said Bennett. “We had only three weeks’ break at the end of last season, being in the play-offs, but that’s no excuse.
“You get looked after and there are plenty of people around to make you fresh.”
Goals from Mauro Formica and Junior Hoilett, four minutes either side of the interval, were enough to end Rovers’ run of five straight defeats and give their survival hopes a boost.
The Canaries had a slight edge in the opening half-hour, but seldom looked likely to fight back after that swift double blow.
“I think it was one of those games we found hard to grow into,” said Bennett. “We started not too bad, we had a gameplan which we wanted to achieve but it didn’t turn out that way. We always think we’re in it and we’ve got the spirit in the changing room to always think we can turn the game around.
“We worked hard but at the end of the day it didn’t happen and we’re all disappointed.”
FA Cup finalists Liverpool visit Carrow Road next Saturday (5.30pm) – another test for a young man with just five Premier League games under his belt, a baptism of fire that has included taking on Tottenham, Everton and Manchester City.
He admitted: “The pace of the game is much quicker. In the Championship, the forwards’ movement is nowhere near what it is here.
“I don’t think Blackburn have had many shots on the goal but they’ve won 2-0 and that’s the biggest difference. When you’re playing a team like Manchester City, as clinical as they are, you give them a chance it’s a goal.”