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Norwich must Marsch to their own beat in Elland Road showdown – Dean Smith

Leeds recently parted company with Marcelo Bielsa, whose side had slipped down the table, and appointed American boss Jesse Marsch.

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Norwich head coach Dean Smith wants his side to concentrate on their own game against relegation rivals Leeds (Joe Giddens/PA)

Norwich head coach Dean Smith wants his side to concentrate on their own game against relegation rivals Leeds (Joe Giddens/PA)

Norwich head coach Dean Smith wants his side to concentrate on their own game against relegation rivals Leeds (Joe Giddens/PA)

Norwich head coach Dean Smith wants his side fully focused on their own jobs at Leeds on Sunday, rather than worrying about what changes new boss Jesse Marsch will bring to Elland Road.

The Canaries head to West Yorkshire looking to build on some momentum from a spirited second-half display in the 3-1 defeat by Chelsea on Thursday night and breathe fresh life into fast-fading hopes of staying up.

Leeds, meanwhile, are aiming to halt a run of six straight league defeats which has left them just two points above the drop zone and seen American Marsch replace Marcelo Bielsa.

Marsch has urged his men to be brave and keep faith with their own game plan – which looked less than cohesive when they were beaten 3-0 at home by Aston Villa.

Smith knows no matter what tactics Marsch might decide to deploy, his squad must pay attention to delivering the required performance to head back to Norfolk with a positive result.

“He has only had two games in charge, so will be getting little messages across to the team in terms of what he needs,” Smith said.

“But the key for us is concentrating on ourselves rather than the opposition and making sure that we put in the kind of performance which we did in the second half against Chelsea.”

Smith added: “What is moving in the right direction is the quality of chances that we are creating and we should be taking more of those.”

Marsch felt his team played with an element of fear against Villa, as the Elland Road faithful got rather restless.

Smith believes Norwich must look to utilise any opportunity to crank up the pressure on the hosts.

“Their support is fantastic and it is a real tough place to go, but we have to silence them as much as we can,” the Canaries boss said.

“We can do that by keeping the ball, by playing in their half and by taking advantage of set-pieces as well.

“It is going to be a tough game, but they are on a losing run and confidence is such a big thing in football.

“The players will be following a game plan, but it has to be about us going forward, what we can do and how we can hurt the opposition.”

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Smith started with a back five against Chelsea, who romped into a 2-0 lead in the opening 14 minutes.

Norwich switched formations again at half-time, with Milot Rashica one of those making an impact from the bench.

Teemu Pukki reduced the deficit from the penalty spot, before Kai Havertz settled any Chelsea nerves with a third goal in stoppage time.

Finland forward Pukki feels Norwich can take heart from their efforts after such a poor start.

“It is a big game on Sunday, so we need to take the self-confidence from the second half into that game,” Pukki said on the club website.

“I think we showed that we can play on this level and we have what it takes. We just need to do that for the 90 minutes on Sunday.”

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