Basic rules ignored by sloppy Norwich City

When you're playing a team as good as Liverpool, and make no mistake, Brendan Rodgers is developing an impressive side, there are a few basic rules that you need to adhere to.

These include not conceding an early goal, being sharp and alert in possession and not giving the ball away when under no real pressure. In the Premier League any team that fails to take those things on board is asking for trouble because, as City again discovered on Saturday, there is no quarter offered at this level.

However bad I felt after the Fulham capitulation, I felt worse about Saturday's game because, whereas City were totally demolished at Craven Cottage, there were times against Liverpool when they looked capable of getting back into the game, only to shoot themselves in the foot with yet another defensive blunder.

Nevertheless, lessons can be learnt from this chastening experience. The first of these would be to note how seldom Liverpool lost the ball cheaply. There were raised eyebrows about the amount that they paid to Swansea to secure the services of Joe Allen, but I genuinely can't remember a single occasion on Saturday when he gave the ball away or was caught in possession. In comparison, City's moves foundered time and time again because, having worked a good position, the final ball was poor.

This is directly connected to the second lesson, which is how patient Liverpool were in their build up. At no point did they try to force passes that weren't really on, and were more than happy to keep the ball moving, even it was backwards, in order to make City chase and to wait for an opportunity to develop.


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City, on the other hand, consistently tried to make something happen, perhaps an inevitable consequence of both the fact that they are still seeking a first win and, more specifically, because the early goal meant that they were always chasing the game.

There's no hiding the fact that it was an awful day to be a City fan, with the final insult being the playing of that execrable goal music when we'd already conceded five. Surely we'd suffered enough public humiliation without being expected to celebrate as if a jolly tune would make us forget that we were watching our team get hammered?

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Inevitably we're all frustrated by our poor start, but however much steam is vented this week it won't change last Saturday's result, and both players and fans have to travel to Chelsea with a positive attitude.

What really does concern me is that a minority are already calling for Chris Hughton's head. While none of us can be happy with where City are at present, this is surely a time for solidarity and pulling together, not creating further upheaval?

How often has fan agitation against a manager actually resulted in a better appointment in recent City history? I would suggest that, with the exception of Paul Lambert's arrival, it's actually had the opposite effect.

This part of the season was never going to be easy and it may well get worse before it gets better. Our first eight fixtures include six teams who are either in Europe this year or were last year. It was always going to be tough. The club has tried to manage expectations and stress that survival is the primary aim, but realism seems to have gone out the window for some. The reality is that Norwich are still financial pygmies compared to most of the clubs they're matched against.

While it's become taboo to refer to how far we've come in just three years, the hard fact is that the club is still paying for the failures that preceded that rise.

Making a scapegoat of Hughton isn't going to change that.

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