Canary favourite Dion Dublin today lifted the lid on life under Glenn Roeder as Norwich continued to motor away from the Championship danger zone.
Since that 'watershed' moment away at Plymouth two months ago, under the new Norwich chief City have lost just once in 11 league games; 12 including the FA Cup draw with League Two minnows Bury.
Over the course of those 11 games, they have picked up 22 points – the kind of two-points-per-game ratio that is usually the stuff of title challengers, not teams five points adrift at the foot of the table come five o'clock at Home Park.
And while the opening 45 minutes of yesterday's 3-1 win at Barnsley offered very little to write home about, the second 45 were as good as its got of late as the Canaries slipped into their passing rhythm and ripped their hosts apart. They could – if not, should – have finished the game some four or five goals distant such was their domination.
Something has clearly clicked. Someone has pushed exactly the right buttons. Cue one of the secrets of Roeder's recent success – or at least in Dublin's eyes.
“His motivational speaking to individuals – and as a team – is very, very good,” said Dublin, who in his 22-year professional career will have witnessed the good, the bad and the indifferent at work in a team dressing room.
“He knows what to say; he knows who to say it to; he knows how to say it. And it's very important – and we needed that. We needed that.”
Nor is it just Roeder. Team Glenn have, likewise, picked up some good habits. “Clarky (Lee Clark) is the same,” said Dublin. “And Stevo (Paul Stephenson) as well. So the three of them have made a massive difference.
“It's just their different way of managing individuals. He knows who to give a telling off to; he knows who to put an arm round. And he's been getting responses – and I think that's made a big difference.”
Roeder clearly got a big response to his half-time speech – it took three minutes before Ched Evans confidently slipped hom his third Canary goal. Thereafter, it was one-way traffic to the end as Dublin bagged his fifth of the season and should have added No6 from a fine Darren Huckerby run and pull-back.
Was that second 45 minutes up there with the best of them this season? “I think it's up there – I just think that we passed it better,” said Dublin, as the Canaries hit a performance level you would expect of a team in the top six, not the bottom six.
“We do look a team that would deserve to be in the play-offs on those second 45 minutes. But's it's all about the consistency.
“And earlier on in the season we would have lost that one – and probably by another goal just through lack of concentration,” said Dublin, as that wretched late summer continues to count against them. Could they still follow Palace into the play-off frame?
“The confidence is better all through the team and I think that if we put our head to it, who knows? Who knows? If we can just keep plugging away and working hard, who knows where we are going to be. Anything's possible.”
It is if City continue to pass the ball the way they did after the break; hit and hope, didn't work – as Roeder clearly pointed out.
“Second-half was much better – I thought we were sluggish and second to the ball in the first-half. Didn't really deserve anything off the first-half performance,” he said, as Roeder's little 'pep talk' at the break did the trick.
“A few words of encouragement and other stuff from the manager – which was needed to liven us up a little bit – and we came out all guns blazing. And, I think, deserved the win in the end.”
Everyone, he said, played their part.
“Second-half, Fozzy (Mark Fotheringham) and Rusty (Darel Russell) got on the ball and played some really good stuff. Hucks (Darren Huckerby) came on and caused havoc like he does,” said the Canary veteran. “And I just thought it was a little bit more solid – I thought Shacks (Jason Shackell) and Doc (Gary Doherty) – as usual – were superb against a player who I thought looked very good in the first-half.”
And then there was Evans – at 19, half Dublin's age. His return to the fold has been warmly welcomed.
“Ched's a decent player – he just needs to keep working hard. He's only a kid. And if he can listen to the right people – ie the seniors in the team; myself, Darren (Huckerby) and JC (Jamie Cureton) – then he'll go on. He will go on – he's got a lot of talent,” said Dublin, throwing Lee Croft into the same bracket after the Canary winger saw a thrilling, second-half counter end with a shot against the base of an upright.
“Crofty, again, he's only a kid – he's still learning. But he always works his socks off,” said Dublin. “But everybody's done well – it's a good team 45 in the second-half.”
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