Leeds United v Norwich City: Redfearn praises Howson

Neil Redfearn.
Neil Redfearn.
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Neil Redfearn parised former United midfielder Jonny Howson after his goal set Norwich on the road to victory at Elland Road.

It was perhaps inevitable that Howson would be on the scoresheet, arching in a fine opener in the 58th minute on his first appearance at Elland Road since leaving in January 2012.

Howson went out of Elland Road against his will and, still a Leeds fan, refused to celebrate his critical strike.

“He’s a top player,” said Leeds boss Neil Redfearn of a player he worked with in the past.

“There is a reason they are second in the table. The difference was the quality of the strikers and the amount of money they have outlaid to bring their players in.

“For long spells we stifled them, and we could perhaps have done a bit more when we broke on them, but for large spells I thought that we played well.”

Meanwhile City boss Alex Neil hailed a “crucial win” after his side moved another step closer to the Premier League.

After Howson’s goal, Graham Dorrans atoning for his first-half penalty miss with a late clincher.

The win keeps Norwich in the thick of the four-team hunt for the two automatic promotion places and, with three games left, an instant return to the Premier League is looking likely.

“It was a tough match and at times I felt we needed to move the ball quicker, but then the first goal was the crucial point in the match,” Neil said.

“I wasn’t happy with some things in the first half but in the second, after the goal especially, we were the better side and we deserved to win.

“If you look at the opposition, John (Ruddy) made one good save, and had to collect a lot of balls, but we did well.

“It was a crucial win. We always work on the basis that our rivals are going to win. We have a job to do and we have come away from two tough fixtures - Bolton and Leeds away - with maximum points.

“I enjoyed the win, especially the second-half performance.”

Norwich now head home for a Friday meeting with Middlesbrough, the side they lead by just a point. A win could effectively price Boro out of the running for the top two.

“That’s why I am in this job,” Neil added. “It’s a huge game.”