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Dean Smith wants Norwich to find ‘siege mentality’ in survival battle

Newcastle United v Norwich City – Premier League – St James’ Park
(Image credit: Mike Egerton)

Norwich head coach Dean Smith has challenged his squad to show a siege mentality as they bid to silence the critics and fight for Premier League survival.

The Canaries were beaten 2-0 at West Ham on Wednesday night, which was a sixth straight league defeat without scoring a goal to stay bottom of the table.

Nevertheless, Norwich are still only three points from safety, albeit with a far worse goal difference to Watford and having played two matches more.

Everton head to Carrow Road on Saturday seeking a first league win since the start of December, and given Norwich’s poor form will be confident of taking all three points back to Merseyside.

Smith, though, insists the belief is there within his squad – no matter what the noise from outside might be.

“We have certainly spoken in the the dressing room about having a siege mentality at the moment,” said Smith, who replaced Daniel Farke during November.

“We understand with the results and the run we are on, that we are going to come in for criticism – that happens and you have to get on with that.

“But we want that siege mentality where we want to come out and fight and try and prove people wrong.”

Former Aston Villa boss Smith added: “I am not bothered what people outside think. Everybody will have an opinion, rightly or wrongly.

“We know what goes on inside this football club, we know how hard we work and the restrictions we were under for three of the previous six games.

“We have got players coming back now and when we have got them back, we need to go and prove what we are about, to show the real us.”

Smith revealed the players had voted for a ‘leadership group’ within the squad to help them all pull in the same direction.

“We have got leaders, I think we need to go and create some other leaders within the group as well,” the Norwich head coach said.

Smith has again called for the Carrow Road faithful to get behind the team as they battle to turn form around.

“We need to be pulling in the same direction,” he said. “We are trying to win games and if our performance level isn’t good enough, then let us know at the end.

“I’m a big boy and I can take it. The backing we got in the first three games (in charge) drove the players on.

“We need to give the fans something to cheer about on Saturday.”

Midfielder Todd Cantwell missed the West Ham game through illness, adding further to speculation around his future.

“If we had a bid for Todd, then we would have to discuss it and decide what we wanted to do, but until you get that bid you don’t have to do anything,” said Smith.

“I have been thoroughly transparent with what I am saying. He had a knee injury and then he has been ill.

“I wanted him to travel with us to West Ham, but he came in and was ill so he got sent home. He is back training (now), so he is available for the squad.”

Smith is determined to stop the rot with a positive result against the Toffees.

“Every game we play at the moment is a huge game and we are desperate to go and get a win,” he said.

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