Bradley Johnson admits it’s time for actions rather than talk after Norwich City’s Everton defeat and recriminations
19:21 12 January 2014
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The result at Goodison Park may have looked run of the mill from outside the Norwich City fraternity – but inside, that didn’t stop the long and comprehensive post-match inquisition.
Be it formations, competitiveness, spirit or looking for the best person to blame, Canaries supporters have sadly found the need to become adept at such chatter following too many full-time whistles involving their club this season.
And after defeat at Everton, the conversation even extended into the Canaries dressing room – although the subjects arising from that group discussion will be staying in house.
“We are confident lads,” said City midfielder Bradley Johnson, as City’s belief became the topic for conversation. “We go into every game hoping we can win and we are confident.
“We had a chat about the game in there and people said their bit, and now we’ve got a massive game on Saturday (against Hull at Carrow Road). We’ve got to stop talking off the pitch and do it on the pitch.”
There is a vocal portion of Norwich fans who would agree with that last sentiment.
So what of one prime issue aired following City’s sticky Toffees experience – a man short in midfield to give Gary Hooper and Ricky van Wolfswinkel their first proper chance to kick off what was conceived in the summer to be a successful strike partnership. It is certainly the Canaries’ most expensive.
“We were outnumbered in midfield and usually we do have that man who drops back for us, and gives us that little bit of an option on the ball,” said Johnson. “The way they set up, they were moving all behind us and it was hard for me and Leroy (Fer) to get forward in the first half. But I think in the second half when we had a go for it, it opened up and we were unlucky in the end.
“The way we started the first half, I think we made it too easy for them. But we came out in the second half and I think we gave it a go, and the game opened up.
“We had a few chances ourselves to score and it was just that today, we didn’t put them away.”
Indeed, lost in some of the recriminations was the fact this was far from City’s worst away day – the visitors had their opportunities in front of goal, and that has not always been the case. But as always, the big difference between top-four challengers and the other end of the table is being clinical.
“You could say that,” added Johnson. “They didn’t really open us up. They obviously scored a really good goal from Gareth Barry and then a terrific free-kick. But they didn’t open us up in any way.
“As I said, the first half we knew we weren’t good enough. We had to close them down and we know we can’t let them shoot from the edge of the box.
“Second half I thought we were the better team. The problem was we weren’t clinical enough in front of goal.”