The five key quotes from Dean Smith’s pre-Watford press conference
(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

By defeating Everton at Carrow Road last Saturday, Norwich City ended a miserable run of six straight Premier League defeats and moved to within just one point of safety.

And this weekend, the Canaries will aim to jump out of the relegation zone for the first time this season and know that a win against Watford would see them do exactly that, at least temporarily.

Norwich head coach Dean Smith spoke to the media on Thursday morning ahead of his side’s pivotal trip to Vicarage Road.

A potentially decisive match

With just one point separating the two sides ahead of Friday’s game, Smith is well aware of the significance of the fixture and believes his players are too.

He said: “From both teams I think there is going to be a big reaction, because both teams know how important the game is.

“It gives us the opportunity to try and climb out of the relegation places for however long, but it also gives Watford the opportunity to try and get away from us. It is a really important game for both teams. I think both teams will be really looking forward to it.

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“I said to the players before the Everton game that it wasn’t quite the be all and end all game, but it was getting to that way. So, getting that victory was really important for us.

“It probably takes a little bit more pressure off us now going into this Watford game, having got the victory, but we all know how important this game is. It can do a lot for both teams if they win it.”

Importance of the Everton victory

Reflecting on his team’s recent 2-1 victory over Everton, Smith said he thought they thoroughly deserved the win and that it has given his players a great deal of belief.

“I feel there has been a bit more of a spring in the step around the training ground this week. That is what a performance and a win can do for you.

“I felt that the squad was getting back to a healthier and stronger position, and I thought the performance against Everton was good and it was a deserved victory. So, it has certainly lifted the place.

“We had gone six games without a win. Six games without a goal. We had a bit of fortune with that first goal [against Everton] which was an own goal, but the performance deserved the result.

“I felt our performance was better against West Ham. I felt that we had got some key players back in the team. I could see that performance (against Everton) wasn’t far away and thankfully we got the result with it as well. It’ll do wonders for the confidence of the players.”

Team news

As he always does before each Norwich match, Smith gave an update on the fitness of his squad, which included some news on first-choice goalkeeper Tim Krul.

“Tim Krul’s out. He obviously hurt his shoulder – the ACL joints – in the last minute of the Everton win, so unfortunately we lose him. I’m not sure on the time with him at the moment.

“We’ve got some players coming back but not for this game. Billy [Gilmour], [Mathias] Normann, [Lukas] Rupp and [Andrew] Omobamidele should all be back for the next game, which is Wolves [in the FA Cup].”

While Krul is certain to miss the trip to Hertfordshire, full-backs Max Aarons and Brandon Williams – who were both subbed off late on against Everton – have trained this week and are therefore likely to retain their places.

Adam Idah

20-year-old striker Adam Idah is also expected to start against Watford after netting his first top-flight goal last week, and Smith is eager for the Republic of Ireland international to keep scoring.

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“He can be key as long as he’s consistent in his performance. He put in a positive performance against West Ham and he’s followed it up with another one, and I’ll be pushing him for that consistent level now.

“I said earlier in the season when I came in that we had to share the weight of the goals with Teemu Pukki, because at times we were all looking to him for a goal or two, and now we’ve got the likes of Adam who are stepping up to the plate.”

The arrival of Liam Bramley

Earlier this week, Norwich announced that they have appointed a new first team coach in the form of Liam Bramley, who worked alongside Smith at Aston Villa previously.

When asked how Bramley’s first week at the club had gone, the City boss said: “He’s settled in really well. He’s a really good, knowledgeable coach, a young coach that I really liked watching at Aston Villa.

“He was with the [under]-18s and won the FA Youth Cup and then we promoted him to Elite Development Coach.

“I’ve watched his work first-hand and been really impressed, and he’s impressed in the first couple of days he’s been with the squad.”

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