All the pressure on Norwich City, says Ipswich Town defender Christophe Berra

Christophe Berra beckons during the Ipswich Town v Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (Pre-season friendly)

Christophe Berra beckons during the Ipswich Town v Royale Union Saint-Gilloise (Pre-season friendly) match at Portman Road, Ipswich, on 30 July 2016. Picture: Steve Waller www.stephenwaller.com - Credit: Picture: Steve Waller

Ipswich Town defender Christophe Berra believes Norwich City are the promotion favourites, but says the under-pressure Canaries won’t be looking forward to visiting Portman Road on Sunday.

The Blues haven’t beaten their bitter rivals since 2009 and have lost five of the last six meetings – including a play-off semi-final second leg defeat at Carrow Road 15 months ago.

Norwich triumphed at Wembley that summer, but ended up coming straight back down.

“Everyone was talking about Newcastle being the favourites, but I’d say Norwich are,” said Berra, who sent-off for handling the ball on the line in that play-off defeat.

“They’ve got the experience and they’ve got players like (Steven) Naismith and (Wes) Hoolahan that provide that little bit of magic.


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“They’ll be one of the teams who will be up there. If not, it’ll be a massive failure for them. The pressure will be on them to go back up.

“But it’s a derby game and anything can happen. It’s on our home turf and the last time they came to us it was 1-1 and it was a tough game for both teams, so they won’t look forward to coming to Portman Road.”

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The Scottish centre-back added: “The players need to go out there with cool heads and treat it like any other game.

“Hopefully on the day we’ll get that bit of luck and maybe we might outplay them, but it’s going to be a difficult game.”

Berra has been the chosen ahead of Tommy Smith to partner new centre-back Adam Webster in the opening games of the new season, with Webster recruited to help the Blues play out of the back more.

“In the past that’s just been the way we play – that doesn’t mean I can’t play football,” said Berra. “I go away with Scotland and we pass the ball. it’s different tactics, different teams, different ways of playing.

“It’s kind of a strange one because when you’re at home and you try and pass the ball across the back the fans start to go ‘Ooooo, booo!’ but then if you go long it’s like, ‘Argh!’, so it’s difficult to please everyone.

“You can’t please everyone, football’s all about opinions, but we want to win games first and foremost. And, yes, we want to win games playing well, but in the end we’ll be judged on winning games no matter whether we made so many passes.”

He added: “I think we are trying to get back to not allowing teams to come to our place, sit back and pop the ball about.

“We need to get in their faces and make them make mistakes, get in about them and do what we’ve done in the past two or three years.

“And when we do win the ball in their half, try and play from there and create chances.”

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