Norwich City manager Alex Neil heaped praise on Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe after his introduction from the bench proved decisive in Saturday’s 1-0 Premier League win over Southampton.
Belgium international Odjidja-Ofoe has struggled for regular game time this season, but was brought on by Neil as a replacement for Nathan Redmond shortly after the hour at Carrow Road.
Within 10 minutes, Odjidja-Ofoe had been fouled by Victor Wanyama, who was shown a second yellow card for the offence, before the substitute crossed from the right for Alex Tettey to score the winning goal with 14 minutes remaining.
In his post-match news conference, Neil revealed how Odjidja-Ofoe had previously expressed his frustrations at not being given more of a chance in the team.
“Vadis coming on gave us that injection of quality and creativity going forward, and he created a goal for us,” Neil said. “He’s been like that for the last month and has been training as well as he’s ever trained.
“The problem he’s had is he’s competing with Wes [Hoolahan] and Nathan, who’ve been two key players since I’ve been here, but he’s got a lot to offer our club.
“His biggest strength is his creativity going forward – touch, technique and strength.
“I had a good chat with him. He was getting a bit frustrated because he wanted an opportunity and to play games, and I had a good chat with him and his agent.
“I said to him I’d try and get him some game time and see what he could do and if it didn’t work out we would address it in the window but with what he’s done he’s got a lot to offer us and I hope that continues.”
Saturday’s victory lifted Norwich to 14th, six points clear of the bottom three, but Neil warned his players they can not afford to rest on their laurels.
“There can’t be any complacency, it’s not as if we’ve been winning games week in, week out all season,” he added.
“The next month is absolutely crucial. If you get as many wins as you can early doors it takes the pressure off and you can go on and hopefully enjoy the remainder of the season.”