April 21 2014 Latest news:
Thursday, December 26, 2013
Norwich City under Chris Hughton have proved on many occasions they can win a game they have to – yet winning a game when it would simply do them a favour seems relentlessly beyond their capabilities.
The disappointment around Carrow Road following Fulham’s continuation of their Canaries joy was tough to take. Steven Whittaker was good enough to talk through City’s failure, even if the idea of it wasn’t particularly desirable. After a result like this Boxing Day effort, it never is.
“I don’t think we played at the tempo we have in previous games, especially at Carrow Road,” said Whittaker – something clear from minute one, and that didn’t improve as the game wore on. “I don’t think there was much in the game at all. We had a few chances, Leroy (Fer) had a couple of headers that went close and we obviously looked to build on our 1-0 lead. But we didn’t and Fulham managed to get themselves back in the game.
“We’re not happy with the way we’ve lost, not at all. But we’ve got another game in a couple of days’ time and hopefully we can try to put it right then.”
The fact that game is a visit from defending Premier League champions Manchester United makes that last statement sound a little more straightforward than it is. But Whittaker was honest in his appraisal over City’s shortcomings against Fulham – where they got a little lost with what they were trying to achieve.
“The disappointing thing from our point of view is the manner in which the goals went in,” added the Scot. “We felt we had them contained but they’ve managed to score two goals and we’ve come away pretty gutted with how we’ve lost.
“We decided to play it around a little bit and got caught out a couple of times – we didn’t learn from that and kept trying to overplay. We were getting our success by putting it in behind, and we stopped doing that for a little bit and got punished for it.
“We’ve been working well and getting the results over the last few weeks, and today was one where we didn’t quite reach those heights. So that’s disappointing and we need to try to pick ourselves up.”
The need for that will be greater given City are now back within three points of the Premier League drop zone – with an improving United on the horizon come Saturday.
“It never is a comfortable position, this close to the relegation zone,” said Whittaker. “We obviously want to stay as far away from that as possible and today was a massive game for us to try to extend that gap. But we are still out of there and we just need to keep trying to build on it.
“It’s now about recovery and trying to do the right things from now until the United game, and putting yourself in the best position you can for another 90 minutes.
“I would rather have won this game going into that one. But last season’s memories of managing to win here 1-0, it’s a game everyone loves. The fans were great last season and if we can put on a similar performance I’m sure they will get right behind us, and then you never know what can happen.”