Defender looking to rise to the occasion

SEBASTIEN Bassong says the pressures surrounding a big game can bring the best out of Norwich City, ahead of Saturday’s home clash against Aston Villa.

With three matches left of the Premier League season, the Canaries are yet to cement a spot in the top flight for next year but face key consecutive home games Villa and West Bromwich Albion.

The City defender prefers to revel in this type of occasion, though.

“I think it’s going to be a tough game for both teams because we both need the win,” said the Cameroon international at his press conference on Thursday.

“The pressure is good sometimes though – it will put us under the spotlight to get the points that will keep us up.

“If we want to stay up, we’ll have to do it in the next two games starting with the Villa one and then at home to West Brom. We don’t even think about Man City for now – I think the next two home games are the most important ones.

Bassong limped off in the closing stages of last week’s 1-0 defeat at Stoke City but confirmed that he’ll be fit and available for selection come 3pm on Saturday.

“My knee is alright – I’ve had a little problem lately and I’ve had to manage it, but the medical staff are doing well. There’s no doubt about me being fit,” he added.

“They’re (Villa) in form because they won their last game, and that’s good for them – but we’re not really focussed on them, we’re more focussed on ourselves and that’s what we’ve got to do.

The 26-year-old has been one of the Canaries’ outstanding performers this campaign, but was quick to praise his colleagues at the back, including Ryan Bennett who has recently had to deputise for the injured Michael Turner.

“As a defence, we’ve kept many clean sheets this season and we’re proud about that. The defence getting some credit is good for all the defensive players,” he said.

“I think Ryan’s done really well – he hasn’t played so much but when he has played, he’s done really well. That means he’s been working hard every day.

“We played together a couple of times before Michael came back the first time, but nothing really changes because we’re all working together a lot of the time in training.

He added: “We’ve been doing well at home and that gives us a little boost, but we take it game by game.”

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