Anthony Pilkington hopeful Norwich can finish above Liverpool


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The Independent Football

Anthony Pilkington hopes Norwich's remarkable season will end with the Canaries achieving the once unthinkable goal of finishing above 18-times champions Liverpool.

Many bookmakers had Norwich down as favourites for relegation after their promotion last season but they have defied their critics and are 15 points clear of danger with five games of the Barclays Premier League season remaining.

They claimed their most impressive win of the season yesterday when they became the only club other than Manchester United and Manchester City to win at Tottenham.

Their 2-1 win, which could have been by a bigger margin had referee Michael Oliver awarded them two clear penalties, means the Norfolk club have amassed 42 points - the same as Fulham and top-flight heavyweights Liverpool.

Pilkington, who scored the opener in north London yesterday, is delighted that his team have proved all the doubters wrong this year and now hopes they can climb above Kenny Dalglish's men by the end of the season.

"All the pundits were talking about us finishing bottom of the league so to finish above Liverpool would be unheard of, wouldn't it?" the Norwich winger said.

"I'm from Blackburn-way, up in the north-west, and that would be a great scalp."

Manager Paul Lambert has rightly earned much praise for the way he has guided his team into the top half of the table after successive promotions.

Perhaps the most impressive part of the Scot's management has been the way he has helped the likes of Pilkington, a summer signing from Huddersfield, to adapt to the rigours of top-flight football with ease.

Another unknown who has excelled in the Premier League after being plucked from League One is winger Elliott Bennett, who thumped home a blistering 20-yard drive to give the Canaries the three points yesterday.

The 23-year-old, signed from Brighton last June with no experience of playing in the Championship, yet alone the Premier League, thinks the win over Spurs proves Norwich are a real force to be reckoned with.

"It was a performance no-one expected," the midfielder said.

"It proved we don't want to go anywhere and get our tummies tickled by the big boys. We want to show we can compete at the highest level. It's a brilliant feeling.

"The fans have been waiting for us to get a big scalp and we did that at White Hart Lane."

Norwich will have to wait little time to prove that they are again capable of upsetting the biggest names in the league as they face Manchester City at Carrow Road on Saturday.

Pilkington has warned Roberto Mancini's squad that the Canaries are brimming with confidence and are fully capable of ending the Lancashire club's title hopes this weekend.

"They need to come out and beat us to stand any chance in the championship but we'll carry on with what we're doing and try to take three points off them as well," he said.

"We've played all season without fear. We've proved we're more than a match for anyone.

"We won't take our foot off the gas, and we'll hope for another win against one of the best sides in Europe."