Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Monday, April 28, 2014
Bravery is the key attribute Neil Adams will demand from his Norwich City players to stand any chance in their fading fight for Premier League survival.
The Canaries’ fate is firmly out of their own hands following Sunderland’s home league win against fellow strugglers Cardiff City on Wearside on Sunday. Norwich head to a Chelsea side this coming weekend who boosted their title hopes with a 2-0 win at Liverpool, but Adams refuses to give up the battle despite another heavy away defeat.
Wayne Rooney and Juan Mata struck a brace each to herald a new era under Manchester United’s interim boss Ryan Giggs and push City ever closer to the brink.
Adams knows what is at stake ahead of a trip to Stamford Bridge and Arsenal’s final day visit to Norfolk but the Norwich boss still believes he has the resources at his disposal to engineer a great escape.
“You can talk about character and right now that is absolutely what we need. We need players with bravery who want to play with bravery, want to tackle and maybe be a little bit braver than we were here,” he said. “When I talk about bravery I mean not just in the physical sense but getting on the ball and making things happen. I didn’t think we did that.
“I’ve seen character in this group and I have seen it again inside the changing room after the game. People are hurt by that performance and result. I was really pleased with the first two performances and the first 40 minutes here but goals change games.”
Adams admitted Norwich had achieved his first objective of trying to subdue a home crowd who had come to pay homage to Giggs.
“What we did do was quell the crowd. We said how important that would be for the first 10 or 15 minutes with what had happened during the week and the shape looked good,” he said. “I thought for 40 minutes we were looking okay. We might not have caused United enough of a problem in that period but we said to the players we had to make sure they didn’t score early.
“We knew what the atmosphere was going to be like. We were solid and disciplined, but after the first two goals we never really posed enough of a threat. At 2-0 you have a mountain to climb and when the place is rocking then it is always going to be a massive ask. It’s a disappointing day, really disappointing.”
City’s resistance started to unravel when Steven Whittaker was adjudged to have tugged back Danny Welbeck after Norwich’s defence had failed to cut out a low cross five minutes before the interval. Rooney stepped up to slot a nerveless spot kick past John Ruddy.
“We gave away a really soft penalty. For me, I don’t know how much contact there was. It looked minimal, maybe a bit on the arm,” said Adams. “I don’t think there was any contact with the feet. If it is given it is maybe a tug on the sleeve. I had a quick look after the game and there didn’t look like much contact.”