Smith: Norwich continue to prove doubters wrong after Wolves win

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.

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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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