Familiar feeling at Molineux doesn’t dispel Bradley Johnson’s early season Norwich City determination
08:13 11 August 2014
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The last thing anyone wanted to feel after the Canaries’ opening 90 minutes of the Championship season was deja vu. Not after City’s dire Premier League relegation. Things are far from straight forward after another opening day failure – one all too familiar before half-time, but that threatened to see City shake off any potential hangover after the break.
That was, until their increasingly reliable habit of conspiring against themselves struck again. This time, it was Martin Olsson’s red card at the very moment Norwich were building a head of steam. Conceding the game’s only goal soon followed, when shutting up shop – if only for 10 minutes – was the sensible plan.
But while fans – and yes, journalists too – felt a familiar sinking feeling, the players won’t be allowing it. They spent a summer being drilled on how this season will be different, how wins will make up for defeats and how this will be a title push. So after a day one disappointment, they are mantras they have to stick to, as much as they’ll now be sorely tested.
“You could say it’s a familiar feeling,” said Bradley Johnson, allowing himself a brief smile. “We’re bitterly disappointed in there to come off the pitch and get nothing from a game where I felt we had to ride out the storm at times – Wolves were a good side – but we were unlucky too. We had chances.
“It all changed when we went down to 10 men, but that’s no excuse. They scored their goal from a cross that should never have come in. We’ve got to defend better than that – especially in this league, because we know the ball is going to be put into the box a lot more.
“But we felt after that goal went in we looked confident and I actually felt we would get that equaliser.
“The Championship is a tough league. There are some great teams in it and we know it’s going to be a hard year for us. There will be ups and downs. This is a down and hopefully we will put that right next week.
“But to come away to Wolves, who have got that positivity from getting promoted last season, we knew it was going to be hard. In the end it was down to a cross and a header.”
That, and perhaps Olsson’s dismissal – plus another 90 minutes without a goal away from Carrow Road sending the running total over seven hours, since City’s late double at Southampton.
“I though his first booking wasn’t a booking,” said Johnson. “And then when you’re on a booking and the lad looks like he’s clean through on goal, I don’t know if he’s pushed him or not – I didn’t really see it – but the referee’s decided to send him off.”
Johnson added: “I really don’t think the lack of a goal will worry anyone. We know we’ve got good strikers here, and with Hoops (Gary Hooper) to come back from injury. It just needs one of them to get off the mark and the goals will come.
“We showed in pre-season we can score and we had a few chances here, but when your luck’s out it’s out. It wouldn’t go in for us today.”