Search

Zak Whitbread glad Norwich City’s Chelsea plan came together

17:40 22 January 2012

Zak Whitbread clears his lines against Chelsea at Carrow Road. Photo: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

Zak Whitbread clears his lines against Chelsea at Carrow Road. Photo: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +44814 482222

Zak Whitbread loved it that the plan came together as Norwich City held Champions league outfit Chelsea on Saturday – and once again proved their ability to adapt could see them secure a second Premier League term.

City boss Paul Lambert changed his formation and starting XI once again, in a bid to keep Chelsea out wide and give them 17-goal strike duo Grant Holt and Steve Morison to deal with at the other end.

And with a hard-earned goalless draw in the bag – along with the much-discussed first clean sheet of the season – Whitbread believes everyone can enjoy the moment.

“They have got quality all over the pitch and you have really got be 100 per cent clued in as a back four and as a unit, and I think from front to back we worked really hard in closing down the space and not letting them play the little through-balls that they-re so good at,” said the City centre-back.

“We got them wide and I think we’ve got the confidence to deal with that when the ball is come in.

“Top teams like that, the place they are going to hurt you is by dissecting you and they have got players like Juan Mata and Frank Lampard who can do that, and Fernando Torres off your shoulder. That’s what they are all about.

“So if we could get them wide then we could take our chances on winning the ball coming in the box, which we did. We worked hard all week on that, so it’s great to get the clean sheet eventually.”

Whitbread added: “We’ve got a very good coaching staff and they have done well to pull together a squad in which there are a lot of options within the 25-man squad. There’s not just a rigid 11, four-four-two that plays every week.

“We try to adapt to different styles of play and the players are there for different systems, so we do work hard and work on bits during the week.

“So the unpredictability is there but I think also the lads have got to go out and play to that system and work hard, and I think today the lads gave everything – it’s and honest bunch.”

Saturday arguably represents City’s toughest point earned so far this season, ran close by the 1-1 draw at Liverpool in October – Whitbread certainly acknowledged the satisfaction.

“Yes it probably is – it’s against Chelesa, to not concede and to get a point is massive against a top, top team,” said the 27-year-old. “There have been other games where we have drawn where we’ve conceded a late goal and it’s been disappointing, but I think today as a unit, as a shape and as a team the plan came together.

“And again we had chances. It wasn’t back against the walls for the whole game. We caught them on the break a couple of times and we were unlucky not to get a couple of little bits there.

“But it’s a very good point. It is the most disciplined (performance) I think, with the banks of four and the lads up front working hard, it paid off.”

And of course, the real monkey off the back – a first Premier League shut out of the season and City’s first clean sheet since the memorable away day at Portsmouth last season.

Whitbread added: “It is nice to get a clean sheet when you’re a defender because people do look at that. The lads were so concentrated on seeing the game out, just getting something and holding the line – we didn’t want to concede so I suppose we were thinking about it at times… in a roundabout way!

“But it hasn’t bothered us all year. Obviously it’s one of those things where people do talk about it but we were just concentrating on getting the results. We’ve picked points up lately but people talk about it, it was a little be it of a nag, but that’s gone. We’ve got one now and hopefully we can build on it by getting a few more.”

Related articles

5 comments

  • Interestingly, this week's (Game week 22) Fantasy Premier League Dream Team has Ruddy in goal and defensive back three of Steinsson, Lescott and Zak Whitbread.

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

  • Zap was immense... Great to see a defensive partnership coming together with him and Ayala.... Proud to be a canary..OTBC

    Report this comment

    The Yellow Yachtie

    Monday, January 23, 2012

  • Zap was immense... Great to see a defensive partnership coming together with him and Ayala.... Proud to be a canary..OTBC

    Report this comment

    The Yellow Yachtie

    Monday, January 23, 2012

  • Nice spot, Swiss - unfortunately Garth Crooks 'Team of the Week' on BBC website deems none of our boys good enought to get in - Ben Foster in for saving a penalty against Stoke, and David Wheater at CB for keeping Andy Carroll sufficiently quiet (which seems a common enough occurrence not to merit highlighting I'd have thought). On the plus side, his striker (until someone spots and amends) is one "Clint Dempsey - Norwich". Unless GC knows transfer news about to break that we don't!!!

    Report this comment

    Johannesburg Chris

    Monday, January 23, 2012

  • Hmm, Chris, he doesn't seem to fit the "hungry lad" model that we seem to be working at present

    Report this comment

    Swiss Canary

    Monday, January 23, 2012

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

Other Beccles and Bungay sport

Friday, August 28, 2015
Bungay Town have their first home game of the season this weekend and will be hoping for more goals from Aiden Lowe.

Bungay Town, after a week off, have their first home game of the season tomorrow when they face Stalham in Anglian Combination Division One (2.30pm).

Friday, August 28, 2015
Some of the Black Dogs who enjoyed Derehams 5k road race. From left to right: Don Tiffin, David Neeve, Alice Kirk, Stuart Young, Laura Button and Graham Sampson.

Eight Bungay Black Dog Running Club (BBDRC) athletes took to the streets of Dereham on Sunday to take part in the town’s 5k road race.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Beccles will be hoping to keep their hold on top spot in the Anglian Combination Division One table when they entertain North Walsham Town tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The penultimate week left many issues to sort out at both the top and bottom of many of the divisions.

Most Read

09:00
Players from both teams surround referee Anthony Tankard after Adam Nicklin of North Ferriby United brings down Jake Reed of Lowestoft Town just outside the box during the National League North match at Grange Lane, North Ferriby
. Picture by Richard Land/Focus Images Ltd

Lowestoft Town picked up a valuable away point in East Yorkshire – but will feel they could have had a bigger Bank Holiday haul.

Read more
Jake Reed
Friday, August 28, 2015
Some of the Black Dogs who enjoyed Derehams 5k road race. From left to right: Don Tiffin, David Neeve, Alice Kirk, Stuart Young, Laura Button and Graham Sampson.

Eight Bungay Black Dog Running Club (BBDRC) athletes took to the streets of Dereham on Sunday to take part in the town’s 5k road race.

Read more
Bungay Black Dog Running Club
Friday, August 28, 2015

Beccles will be hoping to keep their hold on top spot in the Anglian Combination Division One table when they entertain North Walsham Town tomorrow.

Read more
Friday, March 6, 2015
Marcus Sladden

A quiet weekend on the athletics calendar produced mixed fortunes and experiences for Bungay Black Dog Running Club members including a stellar parkrun performance, a European Championship place, a freak performance-threatening injury and a helicopter rescue.

Read more
Bungay Black Dog Running Club
Thursday, April 7, 2011
Bungay Town FC tracksuits have been sponsored by local businesses.

Bungay Town FC have been very grateful for sponsorship from three local companies this year in order to provide tracksuits for the whole club.

Read more

Local Weather

Partly Cloudy

Partly Cloudy

max temp: 17°C

min temp: 10°C

Digital Edition

Image
Read the Beccles and Bungay Journal e-edition today E-edition