Norris: It Was Important to Bounce Back
Sunday, 27th Oct 2019 19:07
Keeper Will Norris was pleased to make his first Town league appearance in what he felt was a very professional performance from the Blues as they won 3-1 at Southend yesterday, with his only disappointment not claiming a clean sheet.
Norris, who had previously played three cup games since joining on loan from Wolves in July, replaced Tomas Holy at Roots Hall as manager Paul Lambert looked for his side to return to winning ways against a Southend side with Sol Campbell - and his assistant Hermann Hreidarsson - in charge for the first time following a 7-1 home thrashing by Doncaster in midweek.
“We knew it was going to be tough coming to a team which has just changed their manager and had been beaten so heavily in the week,” Norris said afterwards.
“They were always going to look to bounce back and make it difficult for us and I thought we handled that element of the game professionally.”
Saturday wasn’t an easy game for keepers with rain falling throughout and a blustery wind blowing around Roots Hall.
“It was tough conditions,’ the 26-year-old added. “I’m going to watch the game back with the rest of the goalkeeping department.
“I’m my own biggest critic at the end of the day, we didn’t keep a clean sheet and that’s something we’ll assess during the week and we’ll look to put right.”
Aside from one sharp save and then moments later the Shrimpers' 83rd minute goal, Norris had a relatively quiet game, which he says is just the way he likes it.
“I thought it was a good professional performance from the whole team, from back to front,” he said.
“I like the quiet days, to be honest, I don’t like it when there’s too much to do, that means someone else isn’t doing their job. It was a professional display.”
Norris felt his League One debut had been coming and believes Lambert always has a tough decision to make when it comes to naming his keeper.
“I think we’ve got a really strong goalkeeping department at this football club and the manager’s got a real dilemma on a Friday when he picks the team about who to pick,” he said.
“I think that’s throughout the whole goalkeeping department with the two young lads [Adam Przybek and Harry Wright] we’ve got as well.
“From a personal point of view, I was pleased to get the first league start but very disappointed in the end not to keep a clean sheet.”
Norris, who started his career in non-league before making his name in the EFL with Cambridge United, says Lambert spoke to both him and Holy on Friday to inform them of the change: “The gaffer spoke to us individually and he named the team this morning.”
He said there were no nerves: “No, I’ve been doing this a while, it’s what I love to do, just go out and put the shirt on on a Saturday at three o’clock and it’s something that I absolutely love doing.”
He admits it’s been frustrating watching from the bench: “Of course it is, it’s frustrating for any player that’s not playing. But, like I say, the most important thing is supporting whoever pulls that shirt on on a Saturday.”
He added: “Everyone wants to play, everyone wants to do what they love and, yes, it is frustrating but there’s always 100 per cent support from the team that is playing.”
Had the Watford-born keeper anticipated playing more games when he signed in the summer? “The gaffer had a really honest conversation with me and he continues to do so and I think that’s the main thing, as long as everyone’s all on the same page then you can’t really go wrong, can you?”
The target is now to keep the shirt for as long as possible: “That’s the aim. It is a privilege to play for such a big football club and such a great football club, especially with the fans they’ve got and the spot we’re in at the moment, so hopefully I can keep the jersey for as long as possible.”
He added: “It’s difficult to go in and out but that’s part of the game when you’ve got a squad that has this much quality.
“The manager can pick two XIs on a matchday and both can go out and get the job done.
“I think that as long as we’re supporting whoever pulls on the shirt on Saturday at three o’clock then that’s the main thing.”
Holy notably made a beeline for him at the end of the first half to congratulate him on his display and Norris says the two always get behind one another whichever one of them is playing.
“Of course, it’s been the same leading up to this game,” he added. “I’ll always support Tom when he plays and he’ll always support me when I play, that’s a good thing about goalkeepers, there’s good camaraderie there and whoever plays is supported 100 per cent.”
Looking back on Saturday's match, Norris admitted it was imperative that the Blues grabbed the three points after the losses to Accrington and Rotherham.
“It’s always important to bounce back after any defeat, especially in the manner we did with the number of changes that Southend have made, but it was a really professional performance from the boys today,” he said.”
The win took Town back to the top of the table with previous leaders Peterborough drawing 2-2 with Coventry.
“I didn’t actually hear the Peterborough result, we’re not focused on anyone but ourselves,” Norris insisted.
“We just need to turn out good performances every Saturday, every league match and focus on ourselves and if we do that and don’t look at too many other teams, we’ll be there or thereabouts at the end of the year.”
Manager Lambert again employed his rotation policy, while the subs coming off the bench - Jon Nolan, James Wilson and Alan Judge - all played a part in the victory.
“It’s fantastic squad depth,” Norris continued. “Nolo came on and just calmed the game down really well, especially with the way Skusey has done before he had to go off.
“It’s a real blessing to have such a good quality group and such a good group of lads, confidence-wise, and they’re supportive as well.”
He added: “We’ve got a great squad and if changes have to be made to freshen things up and make sure we’re still firing on all cylinders that’s what we’ll have to do.”
Norris says the aim is now to push on and put the two disappointing results firmly in the past.
“Yes, that’s the plan,” he said. “Like I say, we don’t look back, we always look forward and we’re never going to be looking at any other team other than ourselves, we’ve just got to go out and do the business.”
However, the Blues will have to wait just over a week before they play again, at Rochdale, a week on Tuesday, with next Saturday’s planned fixture having been the home game against expelled-from-the-EFL Bury.
“They’re all big ones now,” he said when asked about the visit to Spotland. “We’re not looking at anyone else too much, we’re just looking at ourselves.”
Looking forward to the week ahead without a game on the Saturday he continued: “It’s always hard graft on the training ground. We’ve got a good balance of work and rest.
“When we’re in we’re working really hard and we’ll be in over the weekend we’ll look to improve our game even further.”
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