Norwich City must rise to the Premier League challenge

Norwich City defender Michael Turner pleads his innocence after conceding a match-winning penalty for fouling Hull City striker Yannick Sagbo in the Canaries' 1-0 Premier League defeat.  Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd Norwich City defender Michael Turner pleads his innocence after conceding a match-winning penalty for fouling Hull City striker Yannick Sagbo in the Canaries' 1-0 Premier League defeat. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Monday, August 26, 2013
9:00 AM

Norwich’s anaemic display at Hull merely served to offer further justification for their lavish summer outlay.

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"If Norwich are truly intent on growth in the Premier League this season their players have to shake off the last remaining vestiges of any inferiority complex"

Paddy Davitt

On this occasion, in these set of circumstances the Canaries’ efforts were every bit as fitful as the worst days of last season; when the ball was held captive instead of caressed, when possession was seen as a necessary evil rather than a means of exerting pressure and probing for vulnerability in the opposition.

All the worst traits of an ultimately successful tilt at Premier League survival in Chris Hughton’s first season re-surfaced at the KC Stadium; magnified exponentially by their abject failure to solve the puzzle of how to overcome a newly-promoted side reduced to 10-men for more than an hour. Digested through such a filter and the initial irritation felt by many, including the manager, was entirely justified. Lessons can be salvaged even from the wreck of performance that will not linger long in the memory.

For the new boys like Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Leroy Fer it was a brutal introduction to the competitive seam that runs through every opponent they will face in the Premier League this season.

But to lambast Hughton’s re-shaped squad now is to laud many of the same players who resisted at Sunderland in an identical situation on Wearside last season, when Mark Bunn was dismissed in the opening period. On that afternoon, Norwich led through Wes Hoolahan before the concession of a debatable penalty followed by the rejection of strong appeals of their own when Russell Martin’s marauding run and cross appeared to be handled by Danny Rose. The parallels should not be dismissed lightly. Norwich were masterfully defiant at the Stadium of Light in the same way Hull’s obdurate resistance held sway. Norwich’s fate on Humberside was framed by the intervention of referee Mike Jones, but they also appeared reluctant to shape their own destiny.

To lose in such fashion after the stirring comeback against Everton and a luxurious summer of seemingly limitless possibilities induced a wretched sensation. Norwich’s fevered activity in the transfer market was designed to address deficiencies and drab days like these. For it to happen again so early in the campaign suggests the process of assimilation may contain tubulent interludes.

At the last count Norwich have recruited three new strikers, an attacking wide player and a midfielder who appears equally comfortable in advanced positions or operating in a screening role in front of the Canaries’ back four.

Norwich were functional rather than flamboyant last season which prompted a revision and a re-invigoration of the resources at Hughton’s disposal over recent months. City’s hierarchy have backed their manager and the quality threshold has undoubtedly been raised, but at this embryonic stage it is too simplistic to expect van Wolfswinkel and Fer to decide the outcome of Premier League games when their combined exposure runs to minutes rather than matches at this level. Both are incredibly talented young men who can flourish in this country in the right conditions but, much like Nathan Redmond, they need time and patience to grow.

All three were at the hub of Norwich’s most incisive incursions. Redmond tested Allan McGregor from range in the opening period and clipped the base of a post with a free kick. Fer’s thumping early header bounced a yard wide on a debut the Dutchman had cause to be satisfied with and van Wolfswinkel’s instinctive aerial ability only failed to bring Norwich a second-half equaliser through the dexterity of McGregor.

It was the volume of productivity that proved City’s greatest failing. When Robbie Brady’s first-half penalty served to accelerate the flow of a game that Norwich appeared intent on controlling they alarmingly opted to abdicate responsibility. When the onus was placed firmly on the visitors to wrestle the initiative in the aftermath of Yannick Sagbo’s rash red-card offence they retreated.

If Norwich are truly intent on growth in the Premier League this season their players have to shake off the last remaining vestiges of any inferiority complex and realise they are more than good enough to not only stay in the Premier League but impose their will on clubs like Hull, who view the Canaries as a perfect role model – much in the way City put the likes of Fulham and Stoke on a pedestal upon their ascent to the Premier League.

Norwich’s faltering steps this time last year could be attributed in large measure to the early days of Hughton’s reign and the attendant teething troubles. There is no such defence this time around.

City’s squad may have undergone a major refresh but the core elements remain firmly in place. The Canaries can expect to find themselves in similar scenarios again to the one that presented them at the KC Stadium over the next nine months. They need to embrace the challenge.

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46 comments

  • We really should not be thinking about dumping Chris Hughton. He is a very decent and cerebral man. McNally knew what he was doing. Work in progress. We all just want quicker progress.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • G`day, canarydownunderadelaide. I hope you don`t mind if I abbreviate that to "cdua" in future! What worries me most just now is that I`ve been very impressed with the style and quality of our new recruits, but not once yet the way the team has been set up & played, including pre-season. There does not seem to be any tactical "backbone" to the team. Nor any clear leader on-field (or off??). So much of what happens on the pitch seems tentative, afraid to make a mistake. Leading to lots of poor passing and loss of possession. Things WILL get better. I hang on to that belief.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Time the Murphy brothers were used, if they are good enough they are old enough. At least give them a run out in cup games.

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    goldie

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • I Agee Brew, Hughton appears to be a decent thoughtful sort of bloke, but as such he must be aware of the considerable criticism of his team selections and use of obvious defensive minded tactics. My main criticism of him is that he has failed to take notice that these tactics are draining the squad of any ambitions they might have and he is going to carry on with this brand of football come hell or high water. I saw this happening in preseason when he obviously wasn't going to play Hooper with RVW together. Why the dickens did he buy either of them. He is just too stubborn to admit his failings. We need a fresh approach from someone who is going to get the best from this squad - another of his failings is his lack of motivational skills.

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    VictorM

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • The refs decisions where certainly not PL standard but unfortunately we know that will not change overnight. Having watched the game live, when Hull went down to 10 men our guys did not seem to be able to cope too well but did OK up to half time. I would say in the first 5 – 10mins of the second half we showed endeavour and it seemed as if there was a game plan on building up the pressure and then – nothing! As MB says RVW was not getting the supply and even with the changes that did not happen. Apart from not penetrating the Hull defence enough times and almost getting caught on the break what was really lacking was the ability to pass the ball to each other, never mind asking for fluid passing. We have previously played some good one touch football with results but not on Saturday. Leadership on the field is lacking or rather there was no one willing to do what Whits did against i.e. take the game by the scruff of the neck and have a go. From the cameos in the past the individual parts can deliver and at times so can the collective, may be just may be CH needs to lose the rag kick and tell them to go and play like they can and see what happens otherwise conservative football will see us back down a league. Is now the time to call for CH’s head, I do not think so but the game against Bury has now taken on different perspective and the first team has to play to show what they can do and the game on Saturday is a must win and win convincingly and in style. Ah yes can we have a professional referee also, or is that asking too much! OTBC

    Report this comment

    Jakarta Canary

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

  • C'mon fellas, sure you can top 100 lunatic ramblings on this board! Not worth reading this knee-jerk reaction rubbish, and I'm no CH apologist, note my 1st & 2nd offerings on this board. I strive to see matters objectively, rather than subjectively - shifting my viewpoint where I can. I prefer my calm approach, leaving the histrionics to others.

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    Dissaster

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Changing the subject. Did anyone notice the attendance at Portaloo Road 18,000 and 2,000 of them were Leeds. Just goes to show how loyal us Norwich supporters are. We were getting full houses in league one.

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    The Bloater

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Ah typo it should have been....willing to do what Whits did against Everton .... I must improve my proof reading skills! OTBC

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    Jakarta Canary

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

  • That was a good summary from The Padster but, like TK, I would beg to differ on the `readiness` of RvW. To me, HE looks ready, but are we ready for him? No good attaching a F1 engine to a moped`s fuel supply. What is needed vs Bury tomorrow night is the affirmation that we take that competition seriously and avoid dishing up another bowl of embarrassment for the loyal fans. As TK also says, the core of the 1st choice squad should be there (if fit). If I agree with TrevorK any more, there`ll be accusations of sycophancy!

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Watching MOTD, I seem to remember many teams combatted the packed modern day defences by playing the old one,twos up towards the penalty box - something I remember we used to do regularly in L1 and the championship. Watching the highlights on Sky, dont seem to remember any such attempt. Can anyone correct me?

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    zebbee

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • You're welcome TM, though I don't think Brew will be quite so complimentary when he sees what I've posted to him on the 'wake up call article'

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • So do I! I think he is. There`s a coach comin` in.....

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

  • The next two games could be very big for CH and his coaching staff because the fixture list then steps up a notch with the easiest game in 5 being Villa at home and Lambert will have a field day unless we get our act together.

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    TrevorKeith

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • The headline? An excercise in speaking the ******* obvious!

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    Dissaster

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • I must admit that when I read the headline ‘Chris Hughton-‘Hull City red card did Norwich City no favours’, my thoughts turned to despair’. Without reading any further, I summised that, had our man really said this, then we must be in deep dudu. After all, what better favour could you wish for, Lionel Messi deciding that he’d got it all wrong, and following an epiphany, signing up for us on Friday afternoon just in time to make the kick off? Reading on, there was no indication that Hughton had uttered these words, which suggested that Paddy might be responsible for the quote. Significantly, the timing of the article was 6.23. By 6.25, Paddy had informed us of Steve Bruce’s thoughts and by 7.15 had written of the need for a wake up call. Not a bad delivery before breakfast. However, what happens next is interesting. There is a gap of an hour and three quarters, before he presents us with this masterpiece. It is, in my opinion, by far and away, the best article he’s ever written, and quite possibly the best article on our beloved club, ever to grace these pages. Something has stirred his emotion. Written in style, with considerable passion, and demonstrating the kind of accuracy that we’d been hoping for on Saturday afternoon. None of us will ever know what happened, during this interval. An invigorating cold shower, a quadruple espresso perhaps, who knows? The point is, that whatever caused this transformation in literary skill, needs to be replicated on the pitch, and I for one, hope that Chris Hughton reads it, and works out how to inject the same quality of adrenaline into his disjointed team. Well done Paddy, if we had a poll on article of the week....

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Get Mike Phelen in as new team manager...pronto!

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    Colby Army!

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • This was a game we should have won but with Hughton still stick to playing one striker up front alone I can see a long hard struggle scrapping for point at the wrong end of the table .If he keeps playing that stile city might not be so lucky this time and get relegated .

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    DOBBY1970

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

  • Ah what delight Turkish, but will Stephen Fry be watching?

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Dissaster, I am probably your greatest fan, but wasn`t your last posting just a tad self-congratulatory? Next, you`ll be quoting yourself, Padster-style. Oh, no! - are you gently lampooning another contributor? You are a very complex and enigmatic character. Long may it continue. All the best, Yours, The Sycophant. :-)

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

  • Same old story blame the manager, what about the players, they cross the line at 1500 and know what they are on the field for, they get paid good money, earn it!

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    Derek McDonald

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Excellent article. Sums up just where we are at the moment. I said all the way through last season, Mr Hughton must look for an offensive coach. Also a visit to one of those positive thinking gurus for a couple of sessions might not go amiss. Obviously we are not privy to what is said in the dressing room, but his press conferences are far too respectful to the opposition, and does that rub off on to the players? A HughtonLambert morph would make a cracking boss. Yes the penalty was soft. The one’s we concede always seem to be, don’t they. I think the Wolf is ready. Feed him please.

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    Erpingham Tractor

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

  • This is the kind of performance that brings out the trolls onto these pages. Now is not the time to 'sack the manager' - he has bought and dealt well this summer - but that was a performance to forget ! I don't think that Hoots or his players will be abe to take any positives from that performance and they will know they have to up the tempo. Good article by Paddy !

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    Dubai Canary

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Forget the soft penalty. Lets be realistic at this early stage of the season, keep on playing sub standard football and we know where we will be heading next year, along with Hull. The way we played reminded me of 3rd Division South days. Lets hope for a magical change in our next PL game. Hello to Mad Brewer and all of the other regulars from way down here.

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    Adelaide Canary

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Just seen the team sheet for tonight's u21 against Fulham and the Murphy boys are playing so we won't see them tomorrow that's for sure.

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    Turkish Martin

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Ref. proof reading, Singapore, I think we`re all exhausted from doing that for Archant - and never a word of thanks.

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    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, August 27, 2013

  • Love the way that Paddy has quoted himself for this article, you can tell how passionate he is about what he's saying

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • When I read ‘Chris Hughton-‘Hull City red card did Norwich City no favours’, my thoughts turned to despair’. We must be in deep detritus . What better favour could you wish for, Lionel Messi signing up for us on Friday afternoon just in time to make the kick off? This is, in my opinion, is the best that Paddy has delivered, and let’s hope that whatever caused this acceleration in literary skill, is replicated on the pitch. I for one, hope that Chris Hughton reads it, and works out how to inject the same quality of adrenaline into his disjointed team. Well done Paddy.

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • I am beginning to wonder, Brew, if he is that decent then why does he not do the decent thing and resign.

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    waclor

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Bill Bald, I responded as you requested.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Is it time to appoint Mike Phelan as Director of Football?

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    waclor

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • The management pick on one item such as the soft penalty and this excuses a very poor display.

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    goldie

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • very good BPbp !!

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    Turkish Martin

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • very good BPbp !!

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    Turkish Martin

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • So agree with MB. We are a work in progress at the moment. I think CH could be with us for a long time and could well end up being one of our best managers. One game at Hull does not make a season. We will come good.

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    Flying Canary

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • disgusted 24 million spent know idea how to attack inept tatics hughton must go bring in malcky McKay with huckerby as his assistant then we will be a better and more attacking team we have the players but losing faith in hoots he is clueless another roeder god help us otbc

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    Graham Hemmings

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • disgusted 24 million spent know idea how to attack inept tatics hughton must go bring in malcky McKay with huckerby as his assistant then we will be a better and more attacking team we have the players but losing faith in hoots he is clueless another roeder god help us otbc

    Report this comment

    Graham Hemmings

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Couldn't have put it better myself Kent Anglian, though I did try. Excellent stuff Paddy

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    Bill Punton's bald patch

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • When you spend £8.5 million on a striker, you expect him to be ready from the off, not need time to settle I am afraid. I am not having a go at RVW as the main problem appears to be the negative system employed which fails to deliver chances. He probably had two chances all game and one brought a fantastic save from their keeper but we know that happens every game. The philosophy has to change immediately or we will be in the same position as QPR well before Christmas. For me, the whole first team squad needs to play tomorrow night to try to get them to Gel in 4, 4, 2 formation. OTBC

    Report this comment

    TrevorKeith

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Don't want to hear from Wh____n how good Bury are.Probably will settle for a 0-0 at 90 mins and hope we can score in extra time for a 1-0 victory. Out of his depth with team selection, tactics, no motivation always talking the opposition up I for one are fed up with our man at the helm,lose on Saturday and the board may begin to worry about his leadership.

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    Essex yellow

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Dear Delia, If the current managerial set up was a new recipé you were putting together, you would by now have thrown it away as a failure. I urge you to consider that action soon to prevent poisoning everyone concerned. Your sincerely.

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    waclor

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • A bit like New York, New York; so good they named it twice. The Padster may just be working on shaking off the last vestiges of his own inferiority complex. It could be simpler than that; maybe PD is just, well ... inferior? I reckon he`s working on a "Little Yellow Book" in the style of Chairman Mao`s bijou ego-trip in Red. "The Prognostications of Pundit Paddy". PS. I am not el dingo.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Very well written article, Paddy. Let's hope the people at Carrow Road read and digest these excellent words of constructive criticism.

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    Kent Anglian

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • …..Waclor!…It may be more serious than what appears on the surface.!...The Board will probably have a drink or two tomorrow night, and some one amongst them must have read the pro- Hughton comment(s)....It's not the man we have a problem with....It's the way his leadership is destroying this club....He has systematically taken the spirit out of players, and got rid of those who answered back!..Seems all we have left is Hoolahan, dejected now, and he is played out of position, in a fashion so similar to Huckerby under that Roeder Bloke ...In some circles they would call it constructive dismissal.....But there could be a bright side to all this....K-lling two birds with one stone!.... Loose Hughton!--Loose S.O......

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    Stew Pydsodd

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • After Saturday's performance I think it's plain to see that we can't even rise to the levels expected of the Championship, let alone the Premier League. The manager and the "players" are out of their depth. Anyone can see that. We are currently on course for a record low Premier League points tally. An utter embarrassment. Warm regards to all. Gedx (Your pal and fan leader) OTBC.

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    Ged Steroo

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • Hope you're right Flying Canary.

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    waclor

    Monday, August 26, 2013

  • CH--nice guy,tactically inept,hopeless back room team.If we don't replace coaching staff big transfer expenditure will have been wasted.

    Report this comment

    Michael Myhill

    Monday, August 26, 2013

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