Dean Smith made it clear during his first appearance as Norwich City manager that there was only one thing he wanted to discuss: the events of his city break to New York last week.
“I can’t say too much about New York, I’m afraid!” he beamed, with the glint of a man who really wanted you to know he had some stories to tell, if only he could. Smith had been in the Big Apple with his wife to see their son and, while he was there, mull over the prospect of taking the Canaries job. What precisely had he got up to? “A cycle round Central Park, trip to the Empire State Building, ferry to Staten Island; you know, typical tourist stuff.” Another big grin.
Smith was fired by the club he had supported his entire life and had just given the best years in the club’s recent history in the space of nine days, only to be chosen by the league’s bottom team as someone who “shares our values” and can not only keep them in the division but also help them kick on. When you add in the boat voyage, it’s a complete frenzy.
There was not a note of panic over the prospects for a Norwich side six points from safety. “If I thought [the job] was a risk wouldn’t have taken it,” Smith said. “My job is to keep us in league this season and I firmly believe that’s what we can do. The fact is we’re only 11 games in and have 27 games left. Yes, it hasn’t been the greatest of starts, hence why I’m sat here, but if you look at the teams who we had to play early on, it was tough. The win against Brentford was a big thing for the players. It should give them confidence to go on now. It’s a good squad that’s probably been underperforming and our job is to get performances.”
source : guardian sport