Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 18 September 2014

Yobo relishing new challenge

Joseph Yobo is aiming to secure a place in Nigeria's World Cup squad

Joseph Yobo is enthused by the challenge of helping Norwich steer clear of relegation after returning to the Barclays Premier League.

The Nigerian defender, who spent much of his career at Everton, signed on loan from Fenerbahce and is keen to make an impression at Carrow Road.

"It was easy for me (to choose Norwich) - I like challenges," Yobo said.

"I want to go to the World Cup. I want to perform at the highest level.

"Pushing myself and also understanding the situation Norwich football club are in is extra motivation for me.

"I'm excited about it. Sometimes you get too comfortable because maybe the team is winning every game.

"Here I have to do well for myself and I have to make sure the team gets out of trouble."

Yobo could make his debut on Saturday against title challengers Manchester City, particularly as Norwich are already short in defence and Ryan Bennett (thigh) faces a fitness test having been unable to take part in training this week.

The 33-year-old, who has made just two appearances for the Turkish side this season, added: "They're a great team. They have great players.

"Hopefully if we can put ourselves together as a team we can surprise people. Come Saturday anything can happen.

"If I'm called upon I'll do my best and make sure I'll get the job done.

"I came here to help this team. It's been a long time since I played right-back, but I can always do a job."

Yobo is untainted by the 7-0 loss at the Etihad Stadium in November in a performance Canaries boss Chris Hughton described as his side's worst of the season.

Norwich responded to the humiliation by winning three of the five games that followed, but have one win in 11 games in all competitions since beating West Brom on December 7.

Hughton thought his side deserved to win at Cardiff last weekend, but former Norwich goalkeeper David Marshall was in supreme form in the Bluebirds' 2-1 win.

The Canaries boss is concerned more with building on the Cardiff display than reflecting back to the City loss.

He said: "We were hurting and we were hurting for a while from that game (the City loss).

"We did respond and we responded in a good way. We know what can happen if you have a really bad day against that kind of quality.

"Our level of performance in the last game was good, (but) it didn't get us the result we wanted.

"We have to make sure our performance lends more to the performance that we had against Chelsea at home, Manchester United at home, than the disappointed we had away in Manchester."

Although Norwich lost 3-1 to Chelsea and 1-0 to United, Hughton hopes a similar performance can provide a welcome victory.

"We know it's a tall order because of the form that they're in," added Hughton, who watched Chelsea end City's home supremacy on Monday.

"And sometimes, when perhaps nobody expects you to get a result, that's the ones that are most pleasing.

"We'll certainly be giving everything for that to happen."

Hughton is remaining optimistic and is ignoring the fact 15th-placed Norwich are two points clear of the relegation zone in a congested battle between 11 teams to avoid the drop.

He said: "We're three points away from 10th place. There are four teams that are on the same points as us.

"We want to be looking upwards, not downwards. We have to make sure that we come up with the goods to be able to do that."

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