Resilience during vital victory over Everton impresses outgoing Norwich City U23s boss Dmitri Halajko
PUBLISHED: 23:47 15 February 2017 | UPDATED: 00:04 16 February 2017
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
The resilience of Norwich City’s young guns impressed outgoing under-23s boss Dmitri Halajko as he signed off with an important victory over Everton.
The Canaries edged a 1-0 win in the pouring rain at Carrow Road thanks to Ebou Adams second goal of the season, in the 82nd minute, to settle the Premier League Cup tie.
Getting the win was vital as it puts City back on track to qualify from Group D, moving above the Toffees into second place to ensure that victory over Wolves next week will seal progression to the knockout stages.
“Very pleasing, I thought it was a real stubborn performance,” Halajko said following his last game in charge of the team. “We had to work really hard to stay in the game, we weren’t outstanding on the ball but what we were good at was holding our defensive shape, battling hard and making sure that we were tough to beat.
“Then in the end we managed to have something which made the difference at the end. I thought it was a close game, somebody was going to edge it, and it was us.”
The win came despite a lively display from the visitors, who sit top of Division One in Premier League Two and had beaten Arsenal and Manchester United in their last two games.
It was also achieved with an outfield team with an average age of just over 18 but, importantly, bolstered by an excellent performance from 30-year-old former Portsmouth goalkeeper Paul Jones.
“He’s never let us down, his attitude is brilliant when he comes in with us, he’s an experienced professional, he’s played hundreds of games and that shows,” Halajko continued.
“He’s always there when we need him, he got a clean sheet for us against Valencia which was a massive win for us (2-0, in the Premier League International Cup) and a clean sheet for us tonight which was massive for us.
“He’s played a big part in both of those so I can’t speak highly enough of him.”
The former Colchester United academy coach took charge of City’s U23s at the start of the 2015/16 season but it was recently announced he would be leaving at the end of this month for a senior role at an unspecified Premier League academy, understood to be Leicester City.
His successor is yet to be announced, ahead of a league game at Swansea on Monday and that crucial cup game against Wolves, which is scheduled to be played at Colney at 2pm next Friday.
“Good to go out on a win and hopefully the lads can progress on both individually and collectively,” Halajko added. “There’s guys there that hopefully can progress their career and there are some big games coming up, the Wolves game and getting through to the knockout stages of the Premier League Cup for the first time.
“They’ve got the quarters of the Premier League International Cup against Dinamo Zagreb, for the first time, so going really well in the cup competitions and hopefully they can make one of those count.”
Listen to Halajko’s full interview in the audio player at the top of this page and watch our video report from Carrow Road in the video above.
Click here for the latest Norwich City news and views, or follow David Freezer on Twitter @davefreezer or on Facebook @DavidFreezer1