Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong not troubled by Manchester United's frontline


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The Independent Football

Norwich defender Sebastien Bassong knows Robin van Persie can “smell” goals, but intends to help the Canaries snuff out the threat of the Manchester United striker at Carrow Road on Saturday.

The Dutchman has hit eight Barclays Premier League goals already since his £24million summer move from Arsenal.

United head to Norfolk top of the table after their battling 3-2 win at Aston Villa, where they overturned a two-goal deficit.

Norwich, though, have kept three clean sheets since the last international break, beating Arsenal and Stoke in their previous two home matches.

Bassong maintains Chris Hughton's side must focus on another strong collective display rather than worrying about the quality of the frontline they will be facing.

"We know that it is going to be tough against Manchester United, we all know what they can do with quality players," said the former Tottenham defender.

"Van Persie has great touch, great quality on the ball. Even if he does not have time he can score goals, he can smell the football and knows where to go, just like Rooney, they know where to move on the pitch. They are high level players.

"It will be really hard to stop them, but I think we can do it

"We don't have to focus on them too much, just on ourselves and doing the best game we can then we will see what happens.

"Manchester United can scare some people before the game has started, but I am sure it will not be the case with us."

Norwich are unrecognisable from the shambles taken apart by both Liverpool and Chelsea just over a month ago, having shipped 17 goals in seven games and looking relegation fodder.

The goalless draw at Reading last weekend made it eight points out of the last 12 for the Canaries.

Bassong added: "Our defensive performances have been spot on, but that is because the team have been playing all together - we have been tight from the front to the goalkeeper.

"We just have to keep that going and with a bit of luck, maybe we can do something.

"When you are solid at the back, you will always get a chance to score."

Bassong, 26, has settled quickly into Norfolk life since his £4million August transfer, and has already become a cult figure among supporters.

The Cameroon international is glad to have put what was a testing spell during his final few months at White Hart Lane behind him.

"It is just the character I am, it could have been the opposite and taken me ages to settle down," he said.

"That was not the case and I am really happy.

"The manager and my team mates have helped me out, hopefully it will continue to go on like this."

Unlike United, Norwich had just a few players away this week, with goalkeeper John Ruddy an unused substitute for England in Sweden while midfielder Wes Hoolahan played for Republic of Ireland in their 1-0 home defeat against Greece, while defender Steven Whittaker continued his comeback from injury with a full 90 minutes for Scotland in Lithuania.

Midfielder Alex Tettey pulled out of the Norway squad with a minor back problem and should be available. However, defender Russell Martin (back) is not yet match fit.