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Paddy Davitt verdict: Witch hunts and scapegoats will not keep Norwich City in the Premier League

06:00 25 January 2016

Jonny Howson sums up the mood of dejection after Norwich City

Jonny Howson sums up the mood of dejection after Norwich City's 5-4 Premier League defeat to Liverpool. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

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Witch hunts and a thirst for scapegoats will not keep Norwich City in the Premier League. But changes are inevitable after the epic scale of the Canaries’ collapse.

"That gloriously uplifting festive spurt increasingly appears like a mirage in a season threatening to career downhill."

Paddy Davitt

Only Russell Martin can explain what compelled him to play a blind back pass on the halfway line, punished by James Milner, in a critical phase of a Premier League game like no other this season at Carrow Road.

Martin was predictably the main culprit in the immediate aftermath of this shocking defeat when emotions were at their most raw. Fresh from another uncertain display in a more accustomed right-back berth the previous weekend at Bournemouth this was a bridge too far for many City supporters.

But to make one of the club’s longest-serving players the poster boy for all that is wrong with the Canaries right now is ridiculous. It also absolves the rest of his defence and those in front of the back four if there is a desire to draw out the post-mortem and prolong the blame game.

Timm Klose would need to be a cross between Franz Beckenbauer and the late, great Bobby Moore to cover the glaring deficiencies and the abdication of personal responsibility that engulfed a young man in Declan Rudd still making his way at this brutally unforgiving level of football.

Ryan Bennett arguably deserved better than to be jettisoned entirely from the matchday squad but for those who continue to champion him as the missing link perhaps they should glance at the spiralling goals against column and Bennett’s contribution in recent weeks. Only Sunderland have shipped more than Norwich after this defensive debacle made it 11 goals in the last three Premier League outings, 43 in their 23 league matches to date.

If Alex Neil’s men have to score two or more to get anything from a top flight game is it any wonder the searing focus on Martin continues unabated. This is about more than the man who lifted the Championship play-off trophy at Wembley, or Klose or even Bennett for that matter. There is a deeper malaise, a structural frailty, a lack of leadership, a lack of self-belief that ruptures to the surface too often from this set of Norwich players. What happened against Jurgen Klopp’s Reds was only unique in its scale. We have been here before, in the second half at Newcastle, when Norwich looked to be the dominant force before they capitulated.

Klopp has only been in this country a matter of months but, prior to his first trip to Norfolk, the German spoke of Norwich’s propensity to concede ‘easy’ goals. City’s capacity to surrender will not have gone unnoticed among their rivals on the Premier League circuit.

Neil has often spoken about how hindsight is a wonderfully elusive tool harnessed by the critics and those who prefer to focus on the negatives. He stands or falls by anticipating trends, second-guessing opponents and trying to equip his men with the ability to adapt in real-time.

There were no signs of that after Wes Hoolahan’s early second half penalty put Norwich 3-1 ahead. Neil’s planning may have been hampered by the untimely absence of Alex Tettey, but the lack of protection his chosen midfield afforded a dazed defence thereafter deserves scrutiny.

Jordan Henderson ran off the back of Graham Dorrans to sweep home a cross within two minutes of Hoolahan’s spot kick. On such details are games decided at this level. Go back further to the Reds’ opener, when Nathan Redmond failed to close down Alberto Moreno quickly enough to allow him to pick out Milner, who slipped in Roberto Firmino played onside by Robbie Brady. The Irishman’s deployment at left full-back is another divisive social media staple. His weak clearing header in the 95th minute was punished by Adam Lallana following similar concessions at Stoke and Bournemouth.

A tame FA Cup exit to Manchester City may well prove a blessing in disguise. The upcoming free weekend, ahead of Tottenham’s visit, affords a greater period of reflection and dissection. That gloriously uplifting festive spurt increasingly appears like a mirage in a season threatening to career downhill. Norwich’s implosion will sting, yet the scars must heal quickly. There were positives to be salvaged once the pitchforks are put down.

Steven Naismith was bright and inventive, a quality operator who clearly fancies the scrap and can only improve with regular match action.

There was encouraging signs of a telepathy with Hoolahan that embellishes City’s attacking output. Dieumerci Mbokani’s instinctive back-heeled finish again underlined City do possess a striker capable of scoring goals in the Premier League. But it will take more, so much more, to steer this ship to safety over the final stretch.

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51 comments

  • el dingo, too subtle for my dim brain, but all's good between us.

    Report this comment

    Reg Breeze

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • Hi, dis dressed, truth is I'm trying to rouse Timbo McNaughtie out of his slumber. He's the usual xenophobic contributor, specialising in Scottish. He's allowed to cos he's one third Scots himself - and two thirds Lithuanian. Pierre, we'll have to wait until the end of the season to see how Brighton do. Lambert has taken over a club in poorish order and has resorted to a couple of his old Norwich signings - E. Bennett and Simeon Jackson. Looks like there's no cash about and they still haven't sold Rhodes! I sincerely hope no Brighton fan resorts to violence just because I don't rate Hughton. Wasn't so long ago that Canaryinslovenia called me a "Hughton apologist"! Funny old world.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • Reg: my comment was probably too subtle for its own good. The thing that might give it away for what it was is the "wire brush and Dettol" reference. I'm not really suggesting what I might appear to be suggesting - and certainly not accusing you of anything libellous:-)

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • Brew ,merely an advisory, i feel it might inspire topics within your fertile,the good Dr might say infantile, mind, enabling you to respond to journalists and erring posters, as you see fit. I would suggest that continual sinister reference toward the word "Scottish " might attract the attention of the Divine One,and you will be asked to desist. I personally was humbled following similar references

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    dis dressed

    Tuesday, January 26, 2016

  • But a sound defence will OTBC

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    J Smith

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Brewer, Hughton took over Brighton when they were 21st in the Championship; they are currently 4th. Don't tell a Brighton fan he is no good unless you want a thick ear...

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    Pierre

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Lambert is attempting to revive a struggling club. Hughton is doing the opposite. Don't care if I'm proven wrong, but I predict Brighton will not make the playoffs. Nor will Blackburn but they might do next season. I just wish I understood why the unaffordable Jordan Rhodes is still at Blackburn. He's Scottish. Norwich should've bought him by now.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • I remember a mad back pass and the look on Mr keelans face as the Blackpool player darted in and scored, but Jimmy bone and David cross had already ripped Blackpool apart so city were excused that one, but from what I saw on match of the day the defence fell apart not just one bloke.

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    trev57

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Yellowman, I agree that Paddy's logic in this article is in part unclear or perhaps faulty. But I do think his thesis - not seeking to scapegoat one individual for all the team's ills - is a genuine view and worth reflecting on. Go back a couple of years and there was a huge tide of feeling on here that Chris Hughton was the worst manager on the planet and that all we had to do to make things better was get rid of him. But currently Hughton is making good progress in the Championship and Lambert isn't. Life is complicated...

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    Pierre

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Some very spurious 'logic' being utilised in this piece I feel. If Paddy's position is that making RM a scapegoat for Sat's debacle is unproductive, (fair enough) he weakens that argument by then singling out Redmond and Dorrans for criticism. Also, not sure what his point is re RB. If, as it sounds, he is blaming City's 'spiralling goals against column' on 'Bennett’s contribution in recent weeks' then surely he weakens his position further? Inept journalism? Or a more pragmatic example of a journalist defending the indefensible in order to maintain good relations with the Carra Rud hierarchy?

    Report this comment

    ncfcyellowman

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • @dis dressed. What classic karma. I bought a copy of Donaldson's "Brewer's Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics" for the birthday of an erstwhile brewing colleague of mine. She was delighted! She had delighted in calling me the mad brewer, so... About AD 2,000\1\2 ish? I think he died about 10 years ago. I'd quite forgotten he used the pseudonym Henry Root. I don't read much these days. Wastes drinking time. I will now delve into the letters, as you instruct!

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • D'Vott is a duplicitous, devious, self-serving sinecurist. Sorry for being so gentle on him.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Can't get past Paddy's watchers. I agree with Reg. Though I do prefer I!cksp!ttIe to sycophant. TVM, dis dressed. I shall research Henry Root ASAP. Old Steely Dan used to set me homework projects. Such fun.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • el dingo, you appear to contrive a libel in my post where NONE exists! Davitt is an employee of Archant, not NCFC, so I fail to see your point on his various titles. I'm not accusing him of being sycophantic to either his employer nor NCFC. D@mmit we're all NCFC fans, I hope. His sycophancy is towards an average Championship fullback, who happens to wear the captain's armband, because Seb fell out with NA; and towards a manager whose selections this weekend were dire, as evidenced by at least 95% of the fans here. He writes of "the man who lifted the Championship play-off trophy at Wembley", as if RM won it single-handed. I think we achieved the play-offs and won at Wembley more despite his shortcomings, rather than his success. Indeed I would suggest if Ryan B had been fit and come to prominence last season, we might well have earned promotion in the top two. (Wigan and Middlesbrough at home come to immediate mind). But no, Paddy implies, "the spiralling goals against column and Bennett’s contribution in recent weeks", as if Ryan was the prime failure. "Recent weeks" actually = 4 days, when the primary culprit was GON, and I've already posted at length regarding those 2 games. He reports the fans' criticism and then implies that we are all wrong and simply making a scapegoat of RM.

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    Reg Breeze

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • A couple of points from the game interested me, both concerning Hoolahan. Getting the negative out of the way first, can he please in future take a firm step backwards when we get awarded a penalty? If it wasn'y for butterfingers Mignolet, he would have been Saturday's scapegoat. The positive for me was we have the makings of an effective offence with Hoolahan and Naismith on at the same time, plus a striker, and with the other midfielders chosen to mainly provide defensive solidity and link-up (which for me means no Redmond). And while I'm always ready to have a laugh at Davitt's language (what's an "uplifting festive spurt"?!), I think it was quite brave to write this actually. He will have known there would be violent disagreement. Tore solanum tuberosum, Brewer, nearly means potato head...

    Report this comment

    Pierre

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Cheers Pa , he's in my oven now. Oh and on topic would Mr Davitt Chief NCFC reporter please tell us all last time he saw Russ Martin have a good game for NCFC, or even be man of the match.

    Report this comment

    wivenhoebudgie

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Someone on here said, If I can see it, surely AN can!!! He did great last season but dear oh dear its a mess this. That wasn't the best worst game on Saturday it was simply the worst game ever witnessed in the Premier League, even Liverpool were a shower, it seemed harder to pass than score. Well, it has been evident for years that Whittaker, Martin and Redmond weren't up to the Premiership standard required and it was evident in the Soton away game that Dorrans hasn't got the necessary either. This lot are far too laboured and when selected, it's tantamount to starting with fewer players than the opponent. If this is so evident, and it is, why on earth can't the guy in charge see it? There is no excuse for these selections when you had the likes of Elliott Bennett (no way would he have performed as bad as Martin or Whittaker down the right) and with confidence instilled, could have been the answer, Ryan Bennett when for all that time he couldn't get a game and the Murphys who would offer much more passion and ability than Redmond who is quite simply not very good at this game. To go into that game with such a lightweight side was bizarre! To question AN after last season seems a little rich as, had he not arrived, we'd now be in the Championship anyway, but come on Alex, wake up, be your own man again and learn lessons quickly. Start with getting the 4 mentioned above (and Lafferty) on the next stage to 'Deadwood'!

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    Ged in the onion bag

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Paddy Davitt is Chief Norwich City writer sometimes, Norwich City writer other times. To call him a sycophant or even worse a lickspittle is reprehensible. And should anyone make bold enough to suggest his employers make him act in this fashion is, frankly, verging on the libellous. Some posters should wash their proverbial mouths out with a wire brush and Dettol. Shame on you.

    Report this comment

    el dingo

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • brew after we have shared a quids worth of nuncs, given the type,and spirit, of your humour, you might like to research and read The Letters Of Henry Root,

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    dis dressed

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Oh don't, Hoppy! Anyway, we don't have any spare CBs to cover for injury in that structure. If Ryan Bennett has been p!$$ed off by events it could get worse. Off topic, I love those little blue e-Post Its into which young D'Vott inserts a distillate of His Finest Words of Wisdom. I collect them and plan to publish a Mao-esque Little Blue Book. "The Very Greatest Thoughts of Chairman Paddy".

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • What odds can I get for Klose to be introduced but the formation changed to three centre halves (halfs?) and wing backs to still accommodate Mr Martin?

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    Hoppy

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Reg Breeze, I was with a small group of people watching the game in the "mews" bit of the Coachmakers. A collective "Whaaaaat??" rang out when the team selection came up. Much disbelief, even when the players came on. Hallucinatory effect of Bullard's aptly named No. 2, maybe. That reminded me of the aroma of a certain resinous material I was trained to detect on the Licensees' Course! It was as if somebody had eaten a kilo of raw hops and a 6-egg onion omelette, washed down with turpentine - then {@rted.

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • @dis dressed; you're out-Latining old Cutty Quelch now, you beastly rotter. Yarooo. Any chance of a translation. Not feeling up to dictionary work today.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Absolutely reg breeze,this davitt guy was selective in his statistics,should he not have taken bennett`s complete period which,Miracle,contained 2 blank sheets,also has not martin been occupying the wide open right hand defensive side during this period and i suggest responsible for allowing numerous uncontested centres into our penalty area ? this obviously did not suit davitts narrative. tore solanum tuberosun,indeed

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    dis dressed

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Pa Snipps -we were as s#!ts that passed in the night there! Paddy's headline would fit nicely into the tune of "Favourite Things"... Witch hunts and scapegoats and tattoos on strikers.. Pogons on faces like Hairy old Bikers.. Warm woolly kneesocks all tied up with strings... These are a few of my favourite things.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • MichiCan, there are obvious things which can be sorted out without another salary on the budget. (Corner shop economics!). Team selection for starters. A proper captain. No favouritism. Don't play people out of position. Stop taking calls from Gordon Strachan. There's a bit to be getting on with, Alex. The team became a headless chicken once the 3-1 lead was thrown away.

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    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • The well plucked pheasants may revolt!

    images

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    Pa Snipps

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Encouragement from the manager Is required. Not all this chopping and changing! Picking 'Favourites' ahead of common sense! Alex get the records out, and compare yourself with the results of Hughton! Being from North of the border may not be enough to save your job!

    Report this comment

    Pa Snipps

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • A good defensive coach who has strong influence on the defensive line-up is needed. Someone who can see the weaknesses in the squad and layout how they need to be covered in terms of both selection combinations and game plans. This is so obviously lacking.

    Report this comment

    MichiganCanary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Alex Neal persists with this out of date tactic of having two full backs running up and down the wings! Time they have run 100yards forward at about 12secs, they cannot find the energy to run the 100yds back at the same speed!.I say to him in the interest of this club 'Abandon this from this moment on'! Instruct your 4 defenders to remain in the defensive half of the field! Instruct your 3 mid fielders to play in midfield, and make your 3 forwards work together to score goals! Other teams realise that Norwich City is an open book when they are attacking as at present, and if I can see it surely he MUST be able to!

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    Pa Snipps

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • .. and as G_F_U says, Tettey was badly missed in midfield. Not much Alex could do about that but was Dorrans the answer? No! Apart from being Scottish, he was unqualified for that role. Needs somebody the likes of, say, a Bradley Johnson. We do have Mulumbu though...

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Hear! Hear! Reg Breeze. Though I favour "lickspittle" over "sycophant".

    Report this comment

    Mad Brewer

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Would like to remind author of this piece the role and responsibility of the Captain, aka RM. Not going to vilify him as a player, we all have our levels and that is no reason to be personally abusive. However......at 2-1 we were happy, at 3-1 we were on cloud 9. The role of the Captain is to be the managers voice on the pitch. Where was the common sense coming from his direction, where was the leadership on Saturday at 3-1, where was the direction & leadership at 3-2, 3-3 etc.....for this i'm afraid i am going to be critical. Time to drop Martin to protect him. Prior to O'Neil being stupid he was the obvious one, probably should now give it to Howson on the strength of his effort and work rate. Oh and Mr Neil.......if you want to play two attacking full backs please make sure the two wide midfield players can track back, Redmond and Hoolahan hardly seem to fit this basic defensive criteria! However i refer to previously mentioned Captain, he should have seen this unfold in front of him........I'm recovering slowly from Saturday, it may take a while!!!

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    kpg24uk

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • There are many problems with are defence. In my opinion Russell Martin is the major factor, anyone who has played football at good level can see his frailties, 1 lack of correct decision-making 2 lack of pace to rectify mistakes made 3 playing the ball long normally giving possession back to the opposition. I don't believe it's a witch hunt or fans making him a scapegoat they're just fed up with his constant mistakes which are costing valuable points.

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    James Frary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Martin is not a CB, Brady is not a LB. Putting square pegs in round holes does not work.

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    Mylen1um

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Some good points on here as usual. I feel for whoever was at the game. In my eyes new boy Pinto and Brady can't be fielded at the same time without a figuredhead in central defence or the 'Tettey Screen'. Pinto for all his ability moving forward and adjacently Brady, got caught out on the counter all too often. We looked swashbuckling moving forward and there was plenty of positives in that area, but when the ball was played in the centre, that gap where no bullying Tettey was found, they basically ran at our defence. Arguably, we need another defensive midfielder, if we want to continue with this wing-back attack formation anyhow. My concern is, for the first time really, the tactical naivety of AN and this chopping and changing up of players week in week out. In terms of forward play I have few qualms, but we're running out of time to have learned hard lessons about defence.

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    Go_Fleck_Urself

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • you and me both Reg. I could not understand the logic at all.

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    Cyprus Canary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • you and me both Reg. I could not understand the logic at all.

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    Cyprus Canary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • One of the worst analyses, I have read from the sycophantic Davitt! RM is not a scapegoat, he is the ever unreliable CB goat, that leaves the rest of the defence running around like headless chickens! If indeed Ryan was available then AN was totally out of line for not playing him. Remember the two solid banks of 4 that kept Man U down to one goal, and shut out Southampton and Villa. We haven't suddenly imploded into a team that can't defend, we've just re-introduced the error of earlier in the season. We were defending fine at Stoke until O'Neil's blunder. 3 goals at Bournemouth were down to fatigue from the 10 men-hour at Stoke. Those results were no good reason for tearing up lessons already learned! And to choose Dorrans ahead of Mulumbu, when both O'Neil and Tettey were missing, was sheer bl00dy lunacy! I didn't just dream up these thoughts with hindsight, like many of the more erudite among you; I was seething with anger having these thoughts an hour before ko, when I saw the team selection.

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    Reg Breeze

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • I really don't know what's more worrying ...the form of Russ martin in any position ..or the fact Alex keeps picking him and believing we are are going to have a sound defence . True ...you defend as 11 men ...but he is our captain for the love of god !!! If he cannot organise the defence then what is he even doing on the pitch because don't tell me he is being picked on form ??!!! Olsson Klosse Bennett Pinto.

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    marcohendy

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • At 4-4 with 2 minutes left we let them play ping pong in our penalty area. Ruined my weekend and I guess it was the same for many of us. Wise up City because we are running out of games.

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    el dingo

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Yes a good appraisal of the situation in this article and the responses to it. My contribution would be that picking Russel Martin as the scapegoat is not fair as it is not fair to pick out individuals in any position. The manager has made too many mistakes and insists on making too many changes in team selection. This is a sign of his inexperience as a manager and he is trying to learn his trade at the top level which rarely works in any situation. Our defensive frailty over the the time he has been here is plain to see. Defenders don't defend as a unit and that is the core of the problem. This is a coaching and management issue and I don't like to see the manager avoiding his responsibility in this way. His team selections are costing us points as much as individual errors.

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    Cyprus Canary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Agree with a lot of what you say Mr Davitt and some of the fault lies with Alex Neil IMHO. From where I sit watching the games Russell Martin was struggling when previously playing CB because he kept losing track of position and, at least once a game, gave the ball away in dangerous positions a la the Milner pass. When Whittaker was removed and Martin took his rightful place at Right back all went a little better for a while but again we have been worked out. Note the comments about the game with pundits noting the change in the game came when Milner was switched to the left. In addition Brady is doing a fantastic job but positionally does not seem to think like a left back. He played Liverpool onside twice...once for a goal and once when his tackle saved the day. Bring Olson back and let Brady ply his trade down the left, covering when it is needed which I am sure he will do well. Our two defensive midfielders gave little cover to the defense...maybe a change was needed earlier but it did all fall apart pretty fast. I believe Bennett can learn from someone like Klose, although of course we have not seen the latter play yet. Put them together and lets see what happens with Bassong on the bench and hopefully Tettey will be fit again for Tottenham because the other midfielders do not quite seem up to the defensive work he does. Russell Martin has been great for the club over many years but I think it is time for him to stand down for at lest a break and give the others a chance. Finally Naismith was a bright light in the darkness. His enthusiasm and effort well worth noting...quite often when a ball ran free he was there to pick it up. I do believe though that Sir Alex will have to work even harder now to keep us up. The great shining light from the week end is that we scored four including a great strike from Bassong. If we can repet that without the melt down safety is still within our grasp.

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    OzCanary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Yep, Lincs, I think it is clear as day we have a collective problem with our defensive play and that the team as a whole needs to accept blame. Individual clangers just highlighted what was a dreadful defensive display. I agree that we need to bring in Klose, maybe re-introduce Bennet, and bring Ollson back to fullback and perhaps even give the armband to Naismith as he looks like the kind of player to inspire and make sure everyone are doing their jobs properly. What we have, however, to face is that our defending is not just due to indvidual failings so much as a collective, organisational, mess. Even half-decent players, properly drilled and organised and made to know their responsibilities, can and do perform better than what we saw in Saturday. I have seen better defensive shape when watching Div 2 games; back lines who held their positions, made sure they were compact and not stretched too far apart, fullback who while not pretending they were flying wingers, nevertheless could keep their wingers quiet. It is up to AN and his coaching staff to ensure we have and keep a proper defensive shape.

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    malaga flier

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Maybe not, but identifying faults and weaknesses, and remedying them will go a way to keeping us in the PL.

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    Surrey Canary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • The FA Cup capitulation is a blessing in disguise if the weekend off enables AN to work out what is required to stem the flow of goals. Another manager once said he always preferred to inherit a team leaking goals to one that could not score because defence is all about organisation while goal-scoring is an art. The concern we must have about AN is the defences he sets out with each week seem to be getting worse, not better, so a few more days training is no use if he does not know what is required to make the team as a whole defend better. Then there is the issue of selection. One assumes Klose will start the next game but the rest of the defence hardly picks itself. It is an awful problem to confront half way through the season and in Spurs we meet another form team who will welcome soft goals. The pluses are Naismith looks the positive influence the team needs and we're still not bottom three. So AN is meeting his brief - now where have I heard that before?

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    Lincs Canary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • In some ways I feel sorry for Martin. He was selected so he gave it his best, both we and he knows now for certain that he is not good enough, it also doesn't help that the left back is really a left winger and that his partner is slower than an oil tanker turning round. But what else can he do? he can't refuse to play can he? So I will not give him grief, we are past that, anyway what good does it do? apart from make the players lose even more confidence. So what to do? Well here's my ten penny worth. Immediately make Naismith Captain, bring in Klose and Bennet, put a left back at left back, always have a proper holding midfield player in the line-up, either Tetty, Mulumbu or O'Neil (prefered). Keep the front two Naismith and MBok till the end of the season. As for the rest well apart from Wes they are all much of much in terms of ability, OK but not Prem standard, so as long as they worked their socks off I'd be happy. Also paint on the changing room walls in BIG words 'If in doubt kick it out"!!

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    Kazakanary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • I agree with you Paddy that this is a collective failure and said so a couple of times over the weekend. It has been evident on and off all season. Our midfield and wide men simply do not work hard enough doing an essential part of their job which is to close players down and do defensive duties. It is often said that you track as a team, defend as a team. Unfortunately we seem to be adept at only doing the former as was witnessed on Saturday when players piled forward and forgot to retain any semblance of structure. As Graham Souness has been quoted as saying many times, a good team is based on defence rather like a house has to be built on firm foundations. Yes, we looked far better for periods of the game when we had the ball and used it well. Pass and movement was done at pace and Naismith was at the heart of much of it, inspiring his team mates. But when you get two goals ahead and running the game you should never expect a professional team to collapse. But collapse we did. In fact while it was a collective failure it was also in part a series of individual blunders and that cannot also be overlooked. AN has his work cut out to get us into proper shape, to get all our midfield and wide men to realise that they have to contribute at both ends of the pitch, to track back and win back the ball. Too often midfield and wide men are so easily bypassed and then compound this by failing to get back quickly and try to retrieve the situation. Not good enough to leave it to our, agreed porous defence. Finally no good blaming Rudd as he was left totally exposed for at least two of their goals with no screen whatsoever.

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    malaga flier

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Whilst I appreciate that RM alone was not responsible for our crushing defeat, he is as you say being made the scapegoat. His formability certainly has dropped over recent weeks. I would also like to see Brady deployed further upfield, but read the article last week that AN likes to see him at LB. I know O'Neill is suspended, but I'm still struggling to see what Dorrans 'brings to the party!!'

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    Mr Ed

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • Bring back Duncan Forbes !!

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    Dubai Canary

    Monday, January 25, 2016

  • ridiculous to make RM a scapegoat - no ridiculous that he keeps getting selected when he is not premier league standard, the back pass is incidental, he cannot defend, tackle, no positional awareness this is all season not just one match. our worst player by a country mile. Bennet IS a far better defender and Neil made a huge selection mistake yet again, my heart sank when I saw him at centre back. Martin will take us down unless he is dropped never to play again then we have a chance.

    Report this comment

    citizen

    Monday, January 25, 2016

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