Stand-in captain Bradley Johnson finds Norwich City’s FA Cup exit at Preston a tough one to take
15:46 04 January 2015
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
Where do Norwich City go from here? The literal answer is easy – Bournemouth on Saturday. But that won’t cut the mustard given another acrimonious cup upset for the Canaries.
What history proves is that such knock-out humiliation can be softened by success in the league. Paul Lambert enjoyed that as much as any Norwich City manager.
But City’s current Championship plight, especially given their last outing at Reading, isn’t pointing in the direction of a soothing blanket to help ease a road trip to Deepdale that came straight out of the box marked Horror Show.
No doubt the Norwich City way does not include failing to register a shot on target away at League One hosts – no matter how bad your recent FA Cup record reads.
It certainly doesn’t account for a lack of work rate – perhaps the most worrying trend of all afflicting the Canaries during a painfully inconsistent campaign.
“We’re dearly embarrassed about that,” said Bradley Johnson, who as captain on the day once again talked the talk. And he knows, like most supporters, it’s something that holds only limited value. “It wasn’t good enough. No disrespect to Preston but we should be beating them.
“They have done well, but we are all disappointed in there. We have let everyone down, let ourselves down, let the manager down and we have let the fans down.
“They beat us and well done to them. I wouldn’t say we went into the game overconfident. We have got talent but if you don’t work hard as a team and work together, you are going to get found out. Preston did that to us. They worked harder than us and they deserved the win.
“Obviously it was disappointing to lose away to Reading last weekend, but we were confident all week and coming here, we knew it was going to be as hard game. We just didn’t match their work rate. They outworked us and they beat us. They proved it. They wanted it more than us and we’re embarrassed about that.
“In there, we had a long chat about it after the game and it all comes down to them wanting it more than us – and that isn’t good enough.
“We let the manager down. He picked a strong team and we should’ve won the game – but we let everyone down.”
City will have a week to stew on their FA Cup third-round exit – before heading to the Championship leaders, who incidentally made eight changes before slapping Rotherham for five at New York Stadium.
“We wanted a run in the FA Cup, especially after what happened two years ago against Luton,” added Johnson. “We wanted to get a good run. We’ve just got to concentrate on the league.
“They don’t get any easier. We’ve got to go to Bournemouth and put in a performance because – and I keep on saying it – we’ve let everyone down. The only thing we can do now is put in a performance there.”
• Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey