City midfielder Darel Russell had one, simple description for Saturday's 1-0 win over Crystal Palace. ?Massive,? he said.
The 26-year-old's performance in the heart of that new-look Canary midfield was one of the day's big plus points.
It would, however, pale in comparison to the bigger picture; the one in which Norwich hauled themselves into the comfort of the mid-table pack rather than allowing themselves to totter around in the early autumn panic zone.
That now belongs to Palace and their twitchy chairman Simon Jordan. Newspaper reports have already had Jordan meeting up with ex-Blades boss Neil Warnock to discuss, presumeably, the 'vacancy' at Selhurst Park.
Afterwards Eagles boss Peter Taylor wore the look of a man that knows how his chairman operates.
As a performance, Saturday's 1-0 win may well have been scratchy and nervous, fitful and stuttering. As a result, it was all that Canary boss Peter Grant would have looked for – the icing on the cake being David Strihavka's opening goal in English football.
?Without a doubt, that win was needed,? said Russell, who came perilously close to settling a few nerves just before the break when his sweeping, 15-yard shot kissed the top of the Palace crossbar.
?We didn't look too healthy in the league – I know it's not too many points in between top and bottom, but we needed to get the season going and make sure that home is a fortress for ourselves and this is a massive three points for us.?
Games against Palace have traditionally become tight and testy affairs and with the day's officials following suit, it wasn't one for the purist.
?It may have looked like a nervous game, but speaking to the boys everyone felt fairly comfortable in the game,? said Russell, with Canary keeper David Marshall enjoying a relatively quiet afternoon as stand-in skipper Dion Dublin again marshalled his troops well in Jason Shackell's on-going absence.
?I felt we had enough chances to get that goal and if we'd got that goal early then I think it would have been a completely different game from our point of view because we had some great attacks and really moved the ball quickly from back to front.?
Two of the best involved Luke Chadwick and Jon Otsemobor with the latter twice hitting the Palace by-line at pace and twice pulling the ball invitingly back to a lurking yellow shirt.
Jamie Cureton would scuff the first opportunity wide of the far upright; Russell would sweep the second onto the bar.
?But from my point of view, it took a little bit too long to get that goal – to get ourselves in a lead. So perhaps we should have made it a little bit easier for ourselves, but a win's a win.?
Russell – the sponsors' man of the match – found himself with a new midfield partner as Darren Huckerby's return to full-time Championship duty found Simon Lappin stepping inside and Julien Brellier being relegated to the bench.
Afterwards, City boss Peter Grant suggested that, in part, it was a decision based on the fact that Brellier and Russell were too similar as players. It is, therefore, a feather in Russell's cap that it was not he who made way.
Saturday's performance will have only further cemented his place in Grant's thinking – handy given that at some stage in the next few weeks on-loan Chelsea midfielder Jimmy Smith will be walking back into the building.
In the meantime, Russell shared everyone's delight at Strihavka's opening goal for the club. He, it seems, now has a crystal ball at his disposal on his return to Norfolk.
?I've said to people on Thursday that he's scored two great headers in training and I said to him before the game that you're going to come on and knock a header in – and he's come on and done that. So brilliant for him and I'm really pleased for him.
?Hopefully, he can now push on and get a few more.?
Therein lies one of Grant's big decisions ahead of tomorrow night's trip to Charlton Athletic – whether or not to reward Strihavka with a first Championship start or whether to keep faith in the hard-working Chris Brown.
What was equally interesting was the fact that Strihavka clearly understood Russell's premonition – his English is coming on leaps and bounds.
?The lads haven't taught him anything at this minute in time,? said Russell. ?He writes everything down; he hears a conversation and he has a little book with him all the time.
?He writes it all down and translates it himself and then about five minutes later you hear him laughing to himself when he's just realised what the boys have said to eachother!?
All of which puts the Canaries in far better heart for a testing seven days on the road as trips to Charlton and Wolves precede the Carling Cup third round visit to Premiership Manchester City next Tuesday night.
Going into such a run without a win under the bely would have been the stuff of managerial nightmares. But with the Addicks spluttering and coughing on their return to the Championship, so hope springs eternal.
?We've got a lot of difficult games and a lot of travelling to do over the next few weeks and it's going to be difficult to try and get yourself recovered for each of these games – it's a lot of journeys for ourselves,? said Russell.
?But we've just got to get on with it and make sure that the lads we've got in reserve are ready to come in and help the legs out when needs be.?
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