Norwich City centre-half Ben Gibson was full of praise for his teammates for holding onto their lead to take all three points after a close 3-2 win over Stoke City at the Bet365 Stadium.
The Canaries were cruising comfortably with a 3-0 lead going into the last 20 minutes, before Stoke fired two past Michael McGovern to tempt a comeback, forcing City to defend until the final whistle.
Speaking on the close result, Gibson credited his team for managing to hold on to the win, saying the team had to look to each other to find a way of finishing with the win.
“We’ve emphasised it’s not always going to be really clean and neat football, you’re not going to win every game 3-0 or end with a clean sheet, sometimes you’ve got to get your head down when it’s not going your way and grind it out.
"There are two goals there that we’re unhappy with. We’re disappointed that Emi [Buendia] got sent off because he’s such a crucial part of what we do, and I thought he was fantastic.
“He lit up the first half. Sometimes you have to dig in and really grind it out, look to your teammates and find a way to win the game and we’ve done that tonight.”
Discussing the attacking link-up in front of him through Buendia, Josh Martin, Marco Stiepermann and Teemu Pukki, the centre-half was more than complimentary for their first half efforts going forward.
“It’s a pleasure to watch, we just need them to keep doing more of the same and hopefully we can keep a clean sheet. We needed those goals in the end tonight, we’ve needed that margin in the first half.
“We shouldn’t have, but it’s something we can improve on. It’s hats off to them lads in the first half, they were electric going forward, the way they moved the ball, created space and long may that continue.”
Asked about Michael McGovern’s heroics to step in for Tim Krul after the Dutchman was forced off through injury, Gibson gave his praise to the Irish international, emphasising the difficulty to come on against the Potters.
“We’re going to need everyone, there’s not many still standing! That’s what we’ll do, whoever plays will take their opportunity. We’ve got to do it together, you’re not going to win this league with eleven men, 12 men or 13 men.
“Michael [McGovern] came at the end and collected a fantastic ball which, as a centre-half, is unbelievable to see. It’s not easy getting chucked in on a night like this, so fair play to him, he was ready and always experienced at the end.
“He’s helped us out massively. Hopefully Tim [Krul] won’t be out for a while, but it’s the same with quite a few. We’ve just got to make sure anyone who comes through takes their chance and does what we’ve been doing.”
The result now sees the Canaries unbeaten in nine games and still top of the Championship table. Despite this, Gibson says the team takes each game as they come, but look to win them all, especially during such a hard-fought game.
“We just want to keep taking each game as it comes and we want to win every single game this season, there’s not been a game this season where we said we’ll take a draw or play for a draw, that just isn’t us. We look to win every single game.
“It was a great win tonight, a massive result, I don’t think it’s one we can analyse too carefully, so we’ve just got to say the lads have worked really hard for the points. It’s been a massive week so far and we’ll finish it at home this weekend.”