Big response is Norwich City’s only option now
08:38 18 January 2016
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Jonny Howson is one of football’s good guys. He was captain during his time at Leeds for a reason and even on days like Saturday, you could see why.
The midfielder covered his ground as he usually does, worked hard, and on a day of wretched performances his was among the better.
He also tends to be a man who will step forward after a game, no matter what the result – an unenviable position to be in, off the back of a performance like the one witnessed at Dean Court on Saturday.
But Howson made sure a few key themes were addressed – such as how bad the performances was, the importance of what happens next, plus the dressing room reaction. After an afternoon where City did not excel at positive body language, they can ill-afford to produce similar in more concealed situations.
“There were a few words said in the dressing room,” acknowledged Howson. “I always think when emotions are running high and you’ve got that disappointment – and sometimes it’s not easy for some of the characters – but you want to just settle down and go through it on Monday morning.
“There’s a bit of both really – talking and quite quiet. Everyone reacts in their own way. But however you react to it, you can’t affect it now.”
Howson was noncommittal over whether Saturday’s outing was worse than the likes of Watford and Newcastle this season – perhaps it’s a question for others to answer. But what could not be ignored was the fact Norwich knew how important a positive result would be at Bournemouth – a side promoted alongside them last season and fighting for survival with them this.
“It does hurt more because this is somewhere we should be competing,” said Howson.
“But these things do happen – especially when you don’t turn up at this level, irrespective of whether they are at the bottom end or top end.
“Sometimes it’s gone in our favour where we’ve picked up results against teams on paper you’re maybe not expected to.
“Sometimes it’s not about if you get knocked down, but if you can get up and react from it. And I think the disappointments we have had this season, we’ve always reacted from that – and we’re going to have to do that again come next Saturday.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed in there. It’s a bad day at the office for us. Bournemouth deserved to win and it’s hard to take when you play the teams around us and you want to take points. But we didn’t turn up.”
So from a run of three wins in four, Norwich have now lost three successive matches in all competitions and the momentum that was flowing through City over the new year period has gone. That will involve a small rebuilding job in itself over the coming week, ahead of Liverpool’s Carrow Road visit and Tottenham’s turn 10 days later.
Howson added: “I don’t think we ever properly got going to the standards we’ve set over the past few weeks. But I don’t think we’ve undone any of our previous good work. Obviously we haven’t hit the standards we know we can set.
“We need to get back to that as soon as possible.
“It is a tough run coming up but there are no easy games in the Premier League.
“You only have to look a few weeks back and going to Old Trafford, and maybe going into those games and not expecting to get anything.
“But that’s football and if everyone is at it, you can pick up results. So we’ve got to dust ourselves down, try to put it right and hopefully pick up something against Liverpool.”