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Dean Smith praises match-winner Josh Sargent for making most of chance to shine

Norwich boss Dean Smith was impressed with the performance of two-goal hero Josh Sargent (Joe Giddens/PA)
Norwich boss Dean Smith was impressed with the performance of two-goal hero Josh Sargent (Joe Giddens/PA)

Norwich manager Dean Smith paid tribute to in-form striker Josh Sargent after his double secured a 2-0 win over Millwall at Carrow Road.

The 22-year-old American, who also struck against Huddersfield in midweek, settled a keenly-contested Championship clash with two well-taken goals after the break as the Canaries moved up to fifth in the table.

“I am really pleased for Josh because he came here as a centre-forward and hasn’t had too many chances to show what he can do in that position,” Smith said.

“But an injury to Teemu (Pukki) has given him his chance and he has certainly taken it with both hands.

“We have always had belief in Josh, and what he can do for the team, and now I have got to look at getting both him and Teemu in the side and scoring goals.”

After failing to hit top gear in the first half, Norwich were quick out of the blocks after the interval and went ahead in the 50th minute.

Sargent, clearly high on confidence after opening the scoring in Tuesday’s 2-1 win over the Terriers, repeated the trick against the Lions, slamming the ball low and hard past Bartosz Bialkowski after playing a neat one-two with Danel Sinani just inside the area.

The Canaries doubled their advantage after 75 minutes with another clinical goal.

This time Sargent was put in by Kieran Dowell after a big clearance had caught Millwall short at the back and he steered the ball wide of the keeper and just inside the far post in a manner Finnish talisman Pukki, who later came on off the bench, would surely have been proud of.

Millwall might have reduced the arrears late on, with Benik Afobe and new boy Andreas Voglsammer both going close, but were a well beaten side in the end.

Smith added: “I am really pleased with the way we played tonight, although credit to Millwall they made it difficult for us, especially in the first half.

“It was another good performance – to be fair we played just as well against Wigan (1-1) and Hull (1-2) but didn’t take our chances. Tonight we did and you could see how much the fans enjoyed it, it raised the roof at Carrow Road which was good to see.

“Now the challenge is to create even more chances because we have got the players here to do just that.”

Millwall manager Gary Rowett admitted his side had been beaten by a good team, but felt hard done by at the end.

“In my opinion there was a clear foul in the lead up to the second goal – I don’t want to take anything away from Norwich, who played well and might have gone on to win anyway, but Sargent clearly jumped on Danny McNamara, missing the ball and forcing him to the ground,” he said.

“The officials need to get the key decisions right – they are allowing more contact this season but a foul is still a foul.

“Overall I thought it was a good performance from the lads, especially in the first half when we showed good effort, energy and diligence.

“We switched off for the first goal, which I was disappointed about, but the second one was very frustrating from our point of view.”