Sunday, February 2, 2014
The expressions on the Norwich City players as they walked the start of their journey home – via the Cardiff City Stadium interview mixed zone – said it all.
The Canaries have endured more than their fair share of painful defeats this season, many with far worse performances than the domination they often enjoyed in Wales.
But, put simply, defeat in Cardiff was clearly the lowest point yet.
Suddenly, previous comments about Premier League relegation being less palatable than death took on a more tangible presence in the visiting dressing room after the final whistle.
“Believe me – it was like someone had died,” said Alex Tettey. “That’s how it felt, because we lost and this was not a team we should have lost to today. It’s eating me up that we managed to lose against Cardiff. I thought we were excellent in the first 20 minutes and then we let them in the game after that, which we shouldn’t have done.”
From this point, a smile accompanies the rest of Tettey’s comments – the sort that signalled the bewildered exasperation Norwich fans have become all to acquainted with in recent months.
“Then we started the second half the way we shouldn’t have. From our mistake, we let them score two goals – and even though we were down 2-1, we could’ve won the game with all the chances we had. But I’m standing here really gutted that we lost 2-1 because it’s ourselves to blame. There’s nobody else. We made the mistakes out there and we just couldn’t score again.”
And that is undoubtedly the most troubling point to emerge from Saturday. Norwich gifted Cardiff three points and in turn, left themselves with a far greater struggle for survival over the coming weeks than ever confronted them last season.
“Of course this is a concern and we’re away from home as well – we cannot play like we have played here, with all those chances, and not be able to score goals. It’s a big concern. We can’t continue like this.
“In a couple of situations we switched off and in the Premier League you cannot switch off when you are playing games. That is something we have to work on because parts of our game here were really good.
“Even with the mistakes we made, they were the only things they had during the whole game.”
The concerned Canaries ranks do include Tettey – which means he is hoping to take a calmer lead from some of his team-mates as Norwich City fight to buck a trend that is growing more worrying by each passing week.
“Personally I did used to be really concerned, but the group has been in this mess in this division for a long time,” added Tettey.
“So they are used to being calm and when they are calm, that helps me. But personally, this was a game I really wanted to win because then it could’ve given us some space from where we are now.”