Dean Smith praised Josh Sargent after he scored a brace against Watford to help Norwich City climb out of the bottom three in the Premier League.
Aston Villa sacked Smith on November 7 and just over a week later he replaced Daniel Farke at Norwich.
Their fortunes have improved since Smith joined the club. In the lead up to Friday night’s game against Watford, they performed well as they beat Everton 2-1 in Rafael Benitez’s last game in charge.
Norwich started brightly against Watford but Claudio Ranieri’s side improved as the opening half went on.
The Hornets were unable to take advantage as Norwich broke the deadlock in the 51st minute. Josh Sargent improvised sharply as he flicked the ball over the goal line.
There was a delay of over ten minutes soon after as there was an issue with the floodlights. Norwich doubled their lead shortly after the game restarted.
Milot Rashica found Sargent in the penalty area and the winger rose highest to head the ball home.
Watford’s Emmanuel Dennis was sent off after receiving his second yellow card in the 78th minute. Norwich got their third in stoppage time as Juraj Kucka scored in his own net.
As quoted by BBC Sport, Smith said post-match that he hopes this victory gives his team a lift:
“When you go 3-0 up in a game, I expected us to see it out. It was not a pretty affair from us, we knew it would not be but we started the game off really well.
“The game got away from us in the first half but we spoke about it at half time, we were good without the ball today and not so good with. We are in a results business, we needed the result today and it certainly gives everyone a lift.”
On Sargent’s first goal: “Superb, I have only just seen it back and I thought he had just miskicked it. It is great improvisation and he needed that, he is a hard working, intelligent player and I’m pleased he got the two goals.”
On the floodlight failure: “It kept going on and on, I was willing people behind me to start peddling quicker. Thankfully Claudio Ranieri thought like me that it was fine to continue, just not as bright as normal.
“The table looks very uneven with all the postponements. To win a game in the Premier League for a newly promoted team is hard, back to back wins is even harder. The only thing I had a go at them was for the last 15 minutes against 10 men, I thought it was poor.
“There is a great togetherness and I said we would have the best January without signing anyone. For the next game, I can select from a bigger pool of players. A lot healthier than a couple of weeks ago.”