Russell Martin - Norwich City must stick to beliefs
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Norwich City defender Russell Martin insists sticking to their beliefs will carry the club to Premier League survival.
The Canaries may have stumbled in recent weeks with the finishing line in sight, but Martin is convinced Paul Lambert’s squad and promoted rivals Swansea have proved the gulf from the Football League can be bridged.
“Definitely. It’s still extremely tough and we’re not quite safe yet. But I think it shows you don’t need to change when you come into the Premier League,” he said.
“As long as you carry on with your principles. Swansea have done it, we’ve done it, we’ve stayed true to what we know and the way we play.
“I think a lot of teams come up and gone into it with a bid of trepidation and tried to change the way they play and set up to not get beaten but we’ve just gone for it.
“I think we have exceeded expectations. Probably not those of the people round here because they’ve come to expect what we’ve given them in the last two years – that’s hard work and a team that likes to play football in the right way. I hope we’ve rewarded the fans who have got behind us in every single game, with the position we’re sitting in at the moment but there’s still a way to go and we need to start picking up a few more points again and make sure we stay in this league for next season.”
Martin believes City will feel the benefit of their recent Spanish trip over the climax to a gruelling campaign.
“The break we just had together as a group did us a real favour. It does get hard. It’s mentally and physically draining during the season, especially when you get to this point,” he said.
“And the way we play, the intensity we play at as a group, it’s been a good refresher. We worked hard over there but it’s nice to get away and it brings you back together as a group, being around each other 24/7. It’s been great and I think the boys are now refreshed, ready to go.”
City’s collective work ethic was borne out by recent figures from the Premier League showing Lambert’s men have clocked up more miles than any other top flight outfit.
“We got told that the other day,” said Martin. “As players that’s why we’re so knackered come the last few minutes of the game. It was the same last season in the Championship. That’s what it’s about. In training we work really, really hard with a real intensity. There’s a togetherness here to go and get the ball back if we lose it, and win the ball back as quickly as we can. That’s how we like to play, we like to press teams and I think that’s when we’re at our best, showing energy and pressing high up the pitch and playing with pace and tempo.
“That’s how we need to play because we can’t really do it any other way. It’s a good stat but we’ll carry on doing that all season. It’s physically tiring but we’re a fit bunch of lads.”