Pleasure and pain for Neil Adams on his Norwich City Premier League bow at Fulham
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It took Neil Adams just 90 minutes to experience the contrasting emotions of being Norwich City’s Premier League manager.
Adams was feted by 3,000 fans when he emerged at Craven Cottage seconds before kick-off and his new-look team responded in a vibrant opening, but one defensive lapse and Hugo Rodallega’s cunning underlined the scale of the task facing the new man.
“It’s hard to take. Very hard to take with what we’ve done all week with them and what we’ve asked the players,” he said. “We have a dressing room of desperately sad people. I couldn’t ask any more. I thought they were first class. The desire and the commitment they showed proved they realised the situation they were in. I thought we got it tactically spot on. We dominated for long spells and we had chances and we haven’t taken them. That is what has ultimately cost us.
“At this level literally you make one mistake at the other end and you pay the price. It tends to happen when you are fighting for your lives that you get punished. If we are mid-table or in the top half you probably get away with that. I think (Steve) Sidwell has just got across the ball and got a touch on it and Rodallega gets in between players. Michael (Turner) has been drawn to the ball and he has a tap-in. It was a kick in the teeth after doing so well.”
Adams was quick to remind the pessimists of his pre-match prediction City’s fate would not be sealed at Craven Cottage.
“I feel exactly the same as seven days ago,” he said. “This was a huge game and we can not shy away from that. Had we won we would have made our chances of staying in the division a lot easier but I did say beforehand it was not must-win. Yes, we know what we have coming up but we will do everything we possibly can to maintain our Premier League status.
“We have four huge games now against four of the best sides in Europe, let alone England, but the pleasing thing and the main positive we take is what we have seen here from 14 players who gave absolutely everything and looked a good side.”
Adams knows City’s prospects of upsetting the odds rest on addressing their chronic goal shortage which was again painfully evident at Craven Cottage.
“That is the only area we have fallen short and of course it is a big area because that is what wins or loses you games,” he said. “We had a good little spell in the first period and we would have been confident going in at half-time even if we hadn’t scored.
“I always thought we would get a chance when we went 1-0 down with the way we were moving the ball and the angles we were creating. We changed it a couple of times in the second half and went with a bit more width to get the ball in the box. What we have to find is a way of creating the chances from that dominance of the ball into goals and ultimately points.”