Dean Smith lauds Norwich’s ‘winning mentality’ after beating Blackpool
Manager Dean Smith insists there is even more to come from Norwich after they beat Blackpool 1-0 for a seventh win in eight games.
Teemu Pukki’s clinical first-half finish was enough for the Canaries to secure victory in an end-to-end encounter at Bloomfield Road.
Smith’s side have started superbly in their bid for a third successive Championship promotion but he believes they can still improve.
He said: “It keeps our unbeaten run going, it’s another clean sheet and the momentum and the belief is still there.
“We’re facing a big challenge in the Championship this season but I think we are seeing the players standing up to it and wanting to play.
“Sometimes performances haven’t been where we want them to be but sometimes we’re unplayable.
“We just need to keep trying to put it all together over 90 minutes.
“At any level, though, even if you’re Manchester City or Liverpool, you can’t dominate a full game.”
Michael Appleton’s men were denied by the woodwork after 17 minutes when Theo Corbeanu thumped the outside of a post.
The Canaries broke the deadlock in the 21st minute against the run of play.
Dom Thompson was the villain of the piece as he presented the ball to Pukki and the Finn obliged, racing clear before coolly beating Chris Maxwell from 15 yards.
Kenny McLean and Marcelino Nunez hit the woodwork for the Canaries as they searched for a second.
Blackpool appeared re-energized after the restart and early on Jerry Yates forced a fine stop from Tim Krul.
But Norwich could have pulled clear in the second half as Pukki forced Maxwell into another fine low stop with the follow-up from Josh Sargent blocked on the line by Jordan Gabriel.
Smith added: “The shot that hit the post was a bit of a shock to the system but after that we turned it on and we should have put the game to bed before half-time.
“That was as good a spell as we’ve produced all season I thought but the longer it stays at 1-0, you will always give the opposition a sniff.
“We showed a real fighting spirit in that last 20 minutes of the game, though.
“It was an exceptional effort and I’m really pleased with the way we dealt with situations.
“In that second half we showed what a winning mentality was all about it and you need that at this level and that’s what the fans want to see.”
Stuttering Blackpool slid to a worrying fourth defeat in five matches.
Appleton said: “It’s very frustrating. In the first 20 minutes I thought we were fantastic and we put an excellent Norwich team on the back foot.
“We had one or two big moments but we couldn’t score and when Norwich did, that was a big blow.
“We just need to keep the focus on ourselves. It’s easy to be worried but I think if we continue playing like we did, we’ll be okay.
“If we get anywhere near close to what the players achieved last season, that would be fantastic.
“That must always be your aim every year – to try and get as close to, or better, than what you did the previous season.
“The only issue is that this league has become stronger, the money has become bigger, but we’ve just got to continue to try and compete.”
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