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Norwich moves away from the bottom of the Premier League table as Dean Smith’s era gets off to a perfect start

Aston Villa fired him, cycled through Central Park, visited the Empire State Building, took a look at the Statue of Liberty, was hired by Norwich, and then scored three Premier League points.

What a fortnight for Dean Smith. He knew there would be turbulence, and not just because of that trip to New York in the middle of his eight days of unemployment. This job, of trying to lift the bottom of the Premier League off the basement floor, was never going to be easy.

However, this 2-1 win over Southampton was the dream start. Maybe, just maybe, they can survive, after all.

Dean Smith began his tenure at Carrow Road with a beautiful victory against Southampton.

Dean Smith began his tenure at Carrow Road with a beautiful victory against Southampton.

Norwich had to do it the hard way. They had lost their last 33 Premier League matches when they conceded the opening goal and Che Adams scored within four minutes here at Carrow Road.

However, goals from Teemu Pukki and Grant Hanley completed the change, ensuring it would be a winning start for Smith. The full-time roar told him that the fans believe they can get out of trouble, now that they have ‘Deano’ at the helm.

Before kick-off, the players came out of the tunnel, as did Ralph Hasenhuttl in his striped three-piece suit, but Smith did not. He stopped in the tunnel, waiting for his introduction. ‘Canary fans’, the announcer shouted from the loudspeakers, ‘please welcome our new coach’.

Norwich captain Grant Hanley scored the winning goal as the Canaries came back to beat Southampton 2-1 at Carrow Road.

Norwich captain Grant Hanley scored the winning goal as the Canaries came back to beat Southampton 2-1 at Carrow Road.

Norwich captain Grant Hanley scored the winning goal as the Canaries came back to beat Southampton 2-1 at Carrow Road.

Che Adams put Southampton ahead with his second goal in three Premier League games

Che Adams put Southampton ahead with his second goal in three Premier League games

Che Adams put Southampton ahead with his second goal in three Premier League games

MATCH FACTS

Norwich City (4-2-3-1): Krul; Aarons, Gibson, Hanley, Williams; Normann, McClean; Gilmour (Rupp 86), Cantwell (Sargent 46), Rashica (Tzolis 90); Pukki

Manager: Dean smith

Unused subs: Gunn, Giannoulis, Omobamidele, Placheta, Lees-Melou, Idah

Goals: Pukki (7), Hanley (79)

Reserved: Williams, Krul and Normann

Southampton (4-4-2): McCarthy; Walker-Pieters, Salisu, Bednarek, Livramento; Diallo, Romeu (Lyanco), Ward-Prowse, Elyounoussi (Broja 57); Adams (Walcott 62), Armstrong

Manager: Ralph Hasenhuttl

Unused subs: Forster, Perraud, Valery, Smallbone, Tella, Long

Goals: Adams (4)

Reserved: Bednarek, Walker-Pieters

Smith received a standing ovation from his newfound support. However, smiles faded from their faces in the fourth minute, when Adams opened the scoring for Southampton.

The ball was under Adams’ feet and Hanley was on top of him, but he managed to deflect the shot. It dripped in the lower right corner, past an annoying Tim Krul. The giddy Southampton supporters began chanting, “You get fired in the morning.”

This was not in the Norwich script, but then the smiles returned. In the seventh minute, Max Aarons crossed to the near post. Pukki faced him and, scoffing at the acute angle, walked past Alex McCarthy.

Norwich was back, but Southampton was on top. James Ward-Prowse tried, as did Mohamed Elyounoussi and a few others. It was like watching a shooting practice, with Smith soon learning why his new team ranks so high on the Premier League shooting table.

Every time Norwich won the ball in their defensive third, they threw it towards a stranded Pukki, who was being eaten by Jan Bednarek and Mohamed Salisu. It meant that Smith’s team was spending most of this game out of possession.

As halftime approached, the shot count was one for Norwich, the one they had scored, and 10 for Southampton. His eleventh came when Hanley inadvertently lost possession. Adams broke loose, but Krul magnificently stopped him from making it 2-1 with an extended right hand.

Teemu Pukki scored his fourth Premier League goal of the season to tie at Norwich's level

Teemu Pukki scored his fourth Premier League goal of the season to tie at Norwich's level

Teemu Pukki scored his fourth Premier League goal of the season to tie at Norwich’s level

The Finnish forward has already scored in two consecutive Premier League games

The Finnish forward has already scored in two consecutive Premier League games

The Finnish forward has already scored in two consecutive Premier League games

They were 1-1 at the break, but Southampton could have scored three or four goals. Smith knew it too, so he replaced Todd Cantwell with Joshua Sargent during the second half.

It gave Norwich a greater presence in the final third as Milot Rashica tested McCarthy after a good spin on the ball and then Sargent saw another opportunity to swerve wide. Suddenly they were shooting and it was Southampton who couldn’t get out of his own half.

In the 76th minute, a counterattack led by Pukki ended with McCarthy having to push his effort away. In ’79, Carrow Road blew up. Gilmour took a corner from the left and Hanley headed home, making it 2-1 at Norwich.

Smith was about to become the first Norwich manager to win his first Premier League match since Mike Walker in 1992. Southampton wanted to ruin the party, of course, and Theo Walcott would have done it if he had only directed his free header. to the target. .

Fortunately for Smith, he failed, making Norwich the winner.

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