Dean Smith believes Norwich are continuing to prove the doubters wrong after their FA Cup fourth-round win at Wolves.
Kenny McLean’s header in first-half stoppage time was enough to seal a 1-0 victory in a drab contest at Molineux.
The Canaries were bottom of the Premier League over Christmas and all-but written off in some quarters but have now won four of their last five games in all competitions.
Gillingham’s rock bottom is nowhere near under Paul Scally
That form has seen Norwich move out of the relegation zone and into the fifth round of the FA Cup for just the second time in a decade.
Smith hailed the response of his players to the criticism, which came at a time when his squad was decimated by a combination of injury and coronavirus.
“I always said I thought we were harshly judged in the Christmas period and now we are starting to get a better squad together,” he said.
“The players were hurt by it and wanted to prove people wrong and they are doing that at the moment.
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“I think it is hard enough for any team that are newly-promoted to win football games in the league.
“When we had nine players missing, it makes it nigh-on impossible but we have come through that period now and got some players back.
“We got a lot of negativity from outside and spoke ourselves about creating a siege mentality and being strong.”
McLean’s looping header from a Billy Gilmour free-kick on the stroke of half-time proved to be the difference between the two top-flight outfits, with Smith once again pleased with the display.
“It was a hard-fought win,” he added.
“We had to weather a storm in the second-half. I thought we defended in good numbers, showed good discipline and were a threat ourselves on the ball.
“I just feel that there is a sturdiness to the team, they look like they are enjoying their football, enjoying defending and counter-attacking when you have to.”
Wolves head coach Bruno Lage admitted his side had underperformed and bemoaned the way they conceded what proved to be a match-winning goal.
“We didn’t play with the same dynamic, especially in the first-half. In the second-half, we played and came at the game from a different position,” he said.
“I was upset at half-time, especially with the way we conceded that goal, 46 minutes. Their player had his back to goal and we give them a chance to score a goal.
“If we had scored one goal, I think – in the end – we would win the game but we had some good chances and didn’t score so now we watch the rest of the FA Cup on TV.”
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