If ever there was one player who did a nice line in understatement, that would be David Mooney.
For fresh from having bagged his second goal in as many starts following his loan switch from Reading yesterday – two, vital goals that have helped the Canaries clamber out of the Championship relegation zone – so the 24-year-old Dubliner looked around an empty Carrow Road and tried to sum up his current feelings.
“It's decent, you know…”
His world has certainly changed of late. Most outside the Thames Valley might have been forgiven for asking the same question when City chief Bryan Gunn raided the loan market again on the back of one tip and a Reading Reserves hat-trick – 'David, David who…?'
Now, however, and the young man who grew up kicking a ball around the same Dublin parks as Wes Hoolahan is the talk of Norfolk. And alongside both Alan Gow and Cody McDonald is fast hauling the Canaries away from the brink of third tier football.
“Two and a half games – two goals,” he said, speaking immediately after yesterday's crucial 1-0 win over Plymouth Argyle.
“And the atmosphere is great. Coming here I expected big crowds every week, but the way that they get behind the lads it just gives you that extra rise – and to win the last two games has been great.”
All, of course, helped by two, clinical finishes from the on-loan Royal. This weekend and it was a case of being in the right place at exactly the right time as Gary Doherty rose to meet Sammy Clingan's 53rd minute far post header. That done, it was then a case of taking careful aim himself – just inside Romain Larrieu's right-hand post.
“I think Doc won the header at the back and it just fell lovely.
“So I just said: 'Put your head on it….' And I'd been heading it a good bit today and lucky enough, it went in…”
Once again that new-look forward partnership of Gow and Mooney looked to make up for what they lack in obvious brawn with more than their share of footballing brain. Certainly once Norwich had got their noses in front, so the Pilgrims had to come out to play – and leave space for both to exploit as a result.
Both ran themselves into the ground in the Norwich cause; Gow leaving to a standing ovation – and a second Man of the Match award.
“It's going good,” said Mooney. “I think he's got two Man of the Match performances so, hopefully, I'm complementing him in that regard.
“But he's a great player and, hopefully, we can keep going now until the end of the season.”
That particular prospect was helped by last nigth's news that Gunn had already all-but verbally agreed an extension deal with Royals for Mooney. And with Master McDonald fast proving he enjoys the same 'No fear!' attitude as Mooney and Co, so City's prospects for a successful survival fight suddenly look firmly on the up.
“This was a massive result,” admitted Mooney, described as 'the best finisher at the club' at Reading by one or two seasoned observers.
“It takes us out of the bottom three – and that's where you want to be. And for this club, it's all about survival now. And once we can get that, that'll be the main thing. And once they get that then they can push on for next year.”
All of which seems a long way off right now; seven more Plymouth (h) await. Big slogs that demand all concerned roll up their sleeves and dig. Swash-buckling entertainment on the Cardiff scale it won't be.
“I think today's game was a bit scrappier [than the Cardiff game], but they're fighting for their lives as well. And we know that it was going to be like that – and we're just happy to get the odd goal and win,” said Mooney.
The fact that City can win by the odd goal is, in large part, down to a re-born rearguard – few of those bottom eight clubs will have three clean sheets to their name in the last four games. Someone, somewhere is doing something right.
“We've got a good goalkeeper and Doc and Shacks at the back have been great,” said Mooney. “And once you've got that solid base, it gives you that impetus to push forward knowing that you've got that strong core at the back.
“So we're happy to go out and play and if we can keep clean sheets, we know that we're going to win more than we draw or lose.”
The other little piece of bright news Mr Mooney had to impart regarded his fitness – he's getting stronger and stronger with every passing game.
“Today I was maybe a bit better than I was the other night,” he admitted. “But it's only going to come with games, isn't it?
“The more games you play, the fitter you're going to be. I was feeling it a bit in the last tree or four minutes. I got the ball over there in the far corner and I just kicked it out of play because I didn't really want to run with it. So I just kicked it into the corner, as far away from our goal as possible.
“I just thought that was good tactical play from me…!”
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