Pilkington up for Blues challenge
Updated: Sunday, 06 Oct 2013 10:10
Norwich midfielder Anthony Pilkington is hoping the buzz when the big teams visit Carrow Road will propel the Canaries to another surprise Barclays Premier League victory against Chelsea (1.30pm).
The 25-year-old Republic of Ireland international puts the club's home wins against Manchester United and Arsenal last season down to the players' determination not to be upstaged by more famous and wealthier opponents.
He reckons he has spotted the same vibrant mood at the Norwich training headquarters this week in advance of the arrival of Jose Mourinho and co.
Pilkington, who returned after injury to put in a stirring attacking midfield performance in the victory at Stoke last weekend, said: "Even though we are all professionals, everyone loves playing against the big teams in the big games. As a player, I can tell you first hand that when you get games like Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City, you enjoy it a lot more.
"You always seem to put in that extra yard and do that bit more than maybe you would against a Stoke. But last week we did really well and came away with a good result. We were really confident and hopefully we can take that confidence into Chelsea on Sunday.
"Last season when we got results at home against Manchester United and Arsenal the tempo was really up there. We were in their faces and picked up some really good points against the really big teams and we'll look to do that again."
"Even though we are all professionals, everyone loves playing against the big teams in the big games" - Anthony Pilkington
Pilkington, who recently won his first two international caps with Ireland, would love to play under Mourinho one day and knows how tough it will be today - especially following Chelsea's impressive 4-0 midweek Champions League victory against Steaua Bucharest in Romania.
"He's one of the best," Pilkington said of the Portuguese. "Look at his record and his trophy collection. His house must be massive with all the trophies he's got to fit in there.
"He's a great manager - probably the best in football now Sir Alex Ferguson has stepped down and Chelsea are up there again challenging.
"They got a good result in midweek and it's going to be tough for us. But the boys are confident, they look sharp, the mood's up again and it's amazing what a good win like last weekend can do for you.
"Hopefully he (Mourinho) won't be going home happy on Sunday."
Norwich manager Chris Hughton's only problem was to decide on the fitness of defender Sebastien Bassong, who has been suffering from a hamstring injury.
Midfielder Nathan Redmond (ankle)and defender Javier Garrido (thigh) are both fit and available, however, after training this week and, while striker Ricky van Wolfswinkel missed a couple of training sessions due to a toe problem, he should be fit to face the Blues.
Pilkington is under no illusions how difficult it might be staying in a Norwich side which has added seven summer transfers at a cost of around £25million.
"You can't start every game," he said. "This is a tough league and when you get your chance you have got to take it.
"If you have a bad game you know there are one or two who could come into your position so you have always to be on your toes or you'll be on the bench."