Dean Smith called on Norwich and their supporters to turn Carrow Road into a fortress after they secured a second Premier League win of the season with a 2-1 victory over Southampton.
Goals from Teemu Pukki and captain Grant Hanley on his 30th birthday saw the Canaries make it back-to-back triumphs after they also beat Brentford two weeks ago in what proved Daniel Farke’s last match in charge.
Norwich remain in the bottom three but have moved off the bottom of the table and are at home again next Saturday when Wolves visit.
“Winning two on the spin is hard to do and coming from behind is hard to do, so this should build on the belief gained from the Brentford game,” Smith said, having only been appointed on Monday.
“Home form is really important. We know how hard the Premier League is and when you have home advantage and the supporters behind you, like they were today, it is really important.
“We want to make this a tough place to come, win, lose or draw. Whenever a team leaves, they have to say this was a tough place to come.
“Southampton will say that. They were at a good level in first half but we improved and deserved to win.”
Che Adams fired Saints in front after four minutes and Smith admitted his mind cast back two weeks to when a similar thing happened at St Mary’s after Adam Armstrong struck inside three minutes in a 1-0 defeat which proved his last game at Aston Villa.
Pukki levelled immediately to score the first goal of the new manager’s era and yet the visitors remained on the front foot before the half-time introduction of Josh Sargent and a slight tactical adjustment shifted the momentum, with the hosts pressing higher up the pitch.
The Canaries, who had gone 20 top-flight matches without a win before they triumphed at Brentford, pushed for a late winner and it arrived when Hanley’s header into the ground bounced over Alex McCarthy to clinch all three points.
Smith added: “I thought it was a good team performance, especially second half, and they stuck together.
“Young Brandon Williams was excellent, in particular defensively, and these players will grow. We have only had two training sessions and they will get better.
“It was a tough first 45. They got off to a great start and I was thinking back to two weeks earlier when they got off to great start against Aston Villa when I was there, but the players showed great character.”
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl was frustrated a dominant start failed to earn another victory after they entered this fixture off the back of three wins from four league matches.
“In the end, when you concede two goals like we did, it effects the game,” the Austrian admitted.
“We had a fantastic first half and we must kill them. Dominating is not enough against a team trying to find their rhythm.
“We must score more than once and it was clear the longer the game goes with the crowd, the new manager, it is normal they put you on the back foot.
“This is where you have to take the point and that is why I am disappointed.”
Hasenhuttl also faced Smith two weeks ago and said of the Norwich boss: “With a good start like he had now, everything is possible.”
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