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Martin expects city to keep cool

PUBLISHED: 10:33 22 February 2010 | UPDATED: 16:48 30 June 2010

DEFENDER Russell Martin insisted Norwich City's players can hold their nerve in the promotion race after their poor display against Southampton.

The Canaries 11-game winning streak at Carrow Road came to an abrupt end as the Saints collected all three points against a below-par City thanks to Lee Barnard's double.

DEFENDER Russell Martin insisted Norwich City's players can hold their nerve in the promotion race after their poor display against Southampton.

The Canaries 11-game winning streak at Carrow Road came to an abrupt end as the Saints collected all three points against a below-par City thanks to Lee Barnard's double.

But with stuttering Leeds United also dropping points at home, Martin believes City's have enough experience in their squad to maintain their push for the League One title - and promotion back to the Championship.

“There's a long way to go,” he said.

“Teams are going to drop points all over the place and eventually it'll be who holds there nerve best.

“We've got a lot experience in this squad and a lot of people who've been there and done it and we'll be fine.

“Leeds have dropped points again and we've got a big month coming up - and there's a massive month in March as well. As long as we take care of ourselves, we shouldn't worry about looking at the league too much because if we win our games we'll still be up there.

“At the end of the day we concentrate on ourselves and take each game as it comes.

“It's one defeat at the end of the day. People can read into it all they want, but it's one really bad half of football from us which happens now and again and we have to deal with it.”

Although they were far from their best, Martin believes City were dealt a poor hand by referee Russell Booth when he harshly sent off Darel Russell just after an hour on Saturday with the home side 1-0 down.

Russell caught Saints midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin with a high boot, but it seemed completely accident as managers, Paul Lambert and Alan Pardew admitted after the game.

But Booth saw it differently and Russell saw red for the sixth time in a City shirt to leave his side with an uphill battle. Russell now faces a three-match ban.

“We're just disappointed we didn't really turn up in the first half and I think then a bad decision has cost us in the second half and we're chasing the game,” he said.

“Rusty's not even seen the lad. He's come from behind him and obviously got the ball first. For me if it's a red card it's got to be deliberate. But the ref's said he'll have a look and hopefully common sense will prevail and it will get over turned.

“I'll understand if he's pulling out the red card and saying it's deliberate, but if you haven't seen the player then you can't deliberately hurt him.

“He's come from behind Rusty and it's a decision which has cost us because we're then chasing the game and it was really stretched at the end because we still wanted to get something from the game and were still going forward.

“But we conceded the second goal, which was too easy really, but the boys are knackered, they out on their feet with ten men. But we still chased it but it never really came off for us. We never really got going to the usual standard we set and we're really disappointed about that but hopefully on Tuesday we've got a great chance to put it right.”

Tomorrow, the Canaries host Southend and Martin is delighted for the opportunity to get things back on track as quickly as possible after a lacklustre display.

“Give them credit they've started well and come here with a game plan - they've stopped us playing,” he said.

“But we've got to adapt to that and we have done really well when teams have come here.

“A lot of teams are going to come here and not try to outplay us because they know the majority of the time it won't happen. They'll come the majority of the time to stop us playing so we need to work at ways around that and unfortunately we didn't.

“We didn't quite match the tempo we usually set in the first half, but still we go in one goal behind and we're still in it.

“We came from one goal behind last week and at half-time we still thought we could win the game, but ultimately the decision is a disappointing one and we couldn't get anything after that.

“You don't want a week to think about these things and we're disappointed with ourselves and I'm sure fans are disappointed with the day, but Tuesday can't come quick enough.

“Rather than having a week in the training ground thinking about things, we can forget it now and focus on Tuesday.”

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