Ollie Norwood’s perfect penalty clinched a crucial win for Fulham at Middlesbrough yesterday – and the Northern Irish midfielder revealed that regular practice down at Motspur Park is behind his unerring consistency from twelve yards.
The Brighton loanee has assumed responsibility for one of the major problems that undermined Fulham’s promotion push last season after establishing himself as a reliable penalty taker during his first spell in the team after arriving at Craven Cottage. Norwood, whose spot-kick at the Riverside Stadium was his third successful penalty of the campaign, told GetWestLondon’s Ryan O’Donovan that he has been driving Fulham’s goalkeepers to distraction by continually testing his prowess from twelve yards.
It’s why you practice – the lads and manager will probably tell you, I drive the goalkeepers mad every day practising them and it’s for moments like that. I want the responsibility and the gaffer gave me that, I’ll take them if we carry on getting them and I will carry on scoring them.
Norwood, who won the pivotal penalty himself, believes that the narrow victory in the north east provided further evidence that Slavisa Jokanovic’s side are hitting their stride at the right time in the season. The former Manchester United trainee is conscious that, with the Whites still a point outside the top six, nothing has been achieved at the moment.
There’s a long way to go yet, but we’re building momentum nicely and we’re building form at a good time. We wanted to win today to give ourselves a real chance of moving on and we have a home game next week and we have to make sure we win that to make these three points important.
The midfielder was modest enough to mull over the absence of club captain Tom Cairney, who was only fit enough to make the bench against Middlesbrough after experiencing problems with his troublesome knee. The 26 year-old feels Fulham could be a different proposition in the second half of the season when their key players are unaffected by injuries,
Tom missed out today with a little niggle and we do miss him when he doesn’t play, he’s a wonderful footballer, everybody knows that in the league and the league above. Any team would miss him in this division, but we managed to get the win today and hopefully we can get the lads back fit who are struggling with little niggles and hopefully we can get them back.