Ed Seaman’s Norwich City column: Canaries must kick on
For Norwich City, and in particular Alex Neil, it is imperative that Tuesday night’s hard-fought win over Aston Villa doesn’t turn out to be another false down.
After the thumping of Brentford a fortnight ago, I was cautiously optimist that City had turned the proverbial corner — an optimism that was quickly flushed away by the first half performance at Barnsley.
But to their credit, City have again responded, and while Tuesday night was hardly vintage, Neil’s side battled their way to a hard fought, and well deserved, victory against a good side.
And that steel was epitomised by Youssouf Mulumbu, who had his best game in a yellow shirt.
For whatever reason, things haven’t worked out for Mulumbu since he joined the club in the summer of 2015, but against Villa he covered every blade of grass, got to every ball first and really led by example.
Not only that, his willingness to get stuck in lifted the crowd when they needed it most.
But if I am going to talk about individual performances, it would be impossible to ignore Nelson Oliveira.
The Portuguese international has really benefitted from a run in the team and now looks like a real asset to the club.
His link-up play is superb, as is his work-rate but perhaps most importantly of all, he has a real eye for goal - and can score out of nothing.
But as I’ve mentioned, as good as the Villa win was in isolation, it means nothing if we can’t follow that up with another three points against Huddersfield at Carrow Road tonight.
The gap to Brighton still remains at 12 points and with nearly half of the season gone, it cannot afford to get any larger.
If the City faithful show the same impressive level of vocal support once more, I have every faith it will spur the boys to victory.