Norwich head coach David Wagner was impressed with two facets of his side’s game as they beat Stoke 1-0 to maintain their excellent start to the Championship season.
The Canaries had to battle hard to secure a third straight win at Carrow Road but got their noses in front just before the break through Jack Stacey and then defended well in the second half to secure the points.
Wagner said: “I thought we played a lot of good stuff in the first half, kept going to the end and finally got our reward.
“Then in the second we had to dig in at times to get the result. Sometimes in football players get asked questions, about the need to work hard and put in a shift and they have done that.
“It was a tough game against a strong Stoke side with a lot of good individuals and we have come away with a deserved win.
“The only thing I can complain about is the way we managed the game in the final five minutes when we should have be taking the ball to the corner flag rather than going for a second goal.”
A scrappy match with few highlights was settled by a 44th minute goal from Stacey, his first for the Canaries since signing in the summer from Bournemouth.
The defender was in the right place at the right time to convert from close range after a cross from the right from Christian Fassnacht had taken a fortunate deflection off Mehdi Leris.
Norwich barely threatened after that but Stoke also struggled to get a clear sight of goal.
Tyrese Campbell missed a great chance to equalise almost straight away, dragging a first-time shot wide from a good position, and substitute Dwight Gayle failed to convert a close-range chance in stoppage time.
But the hosts had few anxious moments as they maintained their bright start to the campaign.
Wagner also praised goal hero Stacey, adding: “He scored a good goal, got plenty of crosses in and was also solid in his defensive work. He has done well since he arrived and we are delighted to have him.”
Stoke manager Alex Neil was frustrated to come away from his former hunting ground empty-handed.
He said: “I am very disappointed we didn’t get something – I certainly don’t think we deserved to lose the game.
“It always looked like a game which would be won by the more clinical team and that’s the way it turned out.
“We had four or five good opportunities but didn’t manage to score any of them while they scored a scruffy goal from just about the only time we didn’t defend our box properly.
“I thought the performance was really encouraging at a really difficult place to come but I would rather we’d played poorly and won. On another day we could certainly have won the game.
“It’s difficult because we are working with a new-look squad and we have lost a number of players with injuries but I have no complaints with the effort they put in today.”