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Kenny McLean: It was a performance deserving of three points

2 January 2021

Kenny McLean said that Norwich City were full value for their 1-0 win at home to Barnsley in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday.

“Victory against a very good team - you’re always going to be pleased with that, although we could have made it a bit more comfortable for ourselves,” he said. “I put us under pressure towards the end by losing the ball in a difficult area so it was fortunate they didn’t score at the end.

“But it was a good performance and one deserving of the three points.”

McLean got the assist for Emi Buendia’s goal with an excellent aerial pass over the top of the Barnsley defence, and the City midfielder was full of praise for our goalscorer.

“I’m not really surprised by the finish to be honest,” he said. “He’s got that quality in abundance. He makes your mind up when you’ve got the ball, always demanding of it. The runs he makes are with intensity and purpose, he wants the ball.

“He’s taken his game to a new level and for us it’s excellent.

“It’s the run that usually makes the pass and with Emi it always is. You always see he’s a chirpy little guy and he’s the same for us. To have him in the place he’s in right now with his performances is excellent and there’s only going to be more to come from him.

“He’s getting better and he’s still young and the quality he’s showing right now is exceptional.”

buendia v barnsley.jpg

Buendia’s movement was pivotal against a team that defended with five at the back out of possession, and it was just the lack of a ruthless edge that meant City couldn’t win by more goals.

“We got them pinned quite a lot,” McLean said. “Obviously, we analyse teams a lot throughout the week and we felt like we got the same ball in behind them a few times from deep. We were creating chances and on another day we could have been three or four up.

“It wasn’t to be and we ended up hanging on a wee bit at the end with that chance that they had but thankfully we got three points.

“It could have been more comfortable for us today. We’re getting in the areas and if we keep providing chances for players like Pukki then he’s going to take them, there’s no doubt about that. He was unlucky with a few today.

“We need to be a bit more ruthless I think but we take the three points today.”

mclean and buendia.jpg

Winning by small margins is a sign of good game management, something the Canaries have shown a lot of this season.

“It sometimes feels a bit better when you win 1-0,” McLean said. “You know the other team is going to put pressure on when they’re just one behind so it feels good when you hold on to your leads. 

“Against QPR, it was very disappointing to lose a goal in the manner we did so we had to stick together towards the end and you see that togetherness. It feels good right now to be saying we’ve won.”

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