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There were still positives for Norwich City in loss at Stoke

06:30 16 January 2016

Darel Russell turns away to celebrate Norwich City

Darel Russell turns away to celebrate Norwich City's winner in the 84th minute of a 2-1 win at Bournemouth in September 2000, in the second leg of a League Cup first round game. Picture: Archant Library

I hadn’t watched City live in the FA Cup since the Luton Town debacle and based on a performance against Manchester City that was more anaemic than a vampire’s leftovers I probably won’t bother again for a while.

Sadly the grand old competition continues to wither and die on the vine as managers persist in putting out weakened teams, although the ridiculous decision by the Premier League to have a full midweek programme this week just as clubs are recovering from the four games in 13 days of the Christmas period did nothing to encourage them to do otherwise.

Saturday’s game was almost a glorified training session with neither side appearing to want to risk injury and the lack of passion on the pitch was more than matched by the apathy in the stands.

City were largely architects of their own destruction by regularly over-playing around their own box and offered little going forward: all in all it was a day best forgotten.

At least there was no hangover on the proverbial wet Wednesday night in Stoke where City started with a level of confidence and composure on the ball that suggested good things until all of the groundwork was undone by Gary O’Neil’s moment of madness.

O’Neil has been excellent this season but as a seasoned professional he knows himself that he let his team-mates down without the vile torrent of personal abuse that was poured upon him from the computer keyboards of people who would never have the guts to say such things to his face. One assumes that they have never made a mistake themselves.

While the result was disappointing there were plenty of things to be positive about at Stoke, including another impressive showing from Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe whose combination of power and comfort on the ball gives City another dimension, and a remarkable target man performance from Dieumerci Mbokani whose ability to maintain possession when surrounded by opponents is reminiscent of Grant Holt at his best.

What City must do now is to take those positives into today’s game, which will inevitably draw all the usual clichés about being a ‘six pointer’ or a ‘must win’.

Whilst its always good to beat the teams around you because it generally makes the threshold for safety that little bit lower, the fact is that out of the remaining 17 games City need to be aiming for five wins and a couple of draws to reach the magical 40-point mark.

The sooner those points are achieved the more comfortable everyone will feel, but as long as they come I don’t mind where or when.

Meanwhile the madness that is the January transfer window continues in the background with the usual plethora of rumours being repeated to the point where they take on a life of their own, and the number of those claiming to be ‘in the know’ rising daily.

I’ve lost count of the number of players that City have been linked with this month, but the problem is that every time such a player signs elsewhere there are those who will claim it is a target missed even though there is no real evidence that the club actually made a bid.

Whilst we all appreciate how important it is to strengthen the squad a transfer window can only be objectively judged once it is complete, not with over two weeks to go, and while I would love to see business being completed sooner rather than later there’s a lot more involved in buying a footballer than popping down to the supermarket for a bag of frozen peas.

Ultimately I’m sure that most of us would prefer that the club get the right players rather than those that can be signed quickly.

3 comments

  • With Haller I would say we didn't offer the personal terms he was after as said in other posts you don't fly over for a visit to say oh yeah I only just saw the table and realised you're the wrong end of it for me. So skimping could potentially see us miss out of a highly rated player with years ahead of him. Also Charlie Austin is going to Southampton for £4m, how the F*&K did we let him slip by at that price??? 18 goals in the prem last year so proven...... what more do you want??? Why oh why have we not come up with a player swap plus cash for Sam Bryan? I know we have just got Pinto in but lets face it As much a RM is loved by Norwich he's 31 this next year, Wisdom will be going home to Liverpool and less said about SW the better. I'm very happy with the talk of Klose coming in but something has to be said about the other goings on........ I'm praying it all comes good.

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    David Evans

    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • Wake up Alex there are never any positives in getting beat, and never will be.

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    gasman

    Saturday, January 16, 2016

  • I haven't personally spoken to anyone who says each one that signs elsewhere is a target missed. If you're referring to Haller, who had enough interest to fly here and then looks unlikely to sign, of course that's a target missed. The hard work is getting them in the building in the first place. Rarely do transfers fail once you have their presence, so you can only look at why. The "european club" line is not true, you don't fly to a club to tell them that.

    Report this comment

    JimBob

    Saturday, January 16, 2016

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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