Norwich City players must show more mental strength if they are to survive

The Norwich players look dejected after conceding their sides 3rd goal during the Barclays Premier L

The Norwich players look dejected after conceding their sides 3rd goal during the Barclays Premier League match at St. James's Park, Newcastle. Picture by Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

After worrying evidence of defensive frailties emerged at Newcastle, Fans' Zone columnist Matt Howman is calling on the Norwich City squad to up their game ahead of Saturday's clash with West Brom.

International breaks are seen as pesky intervals which disrupt the flow of club campaigns by football fans across the UK.

They bring a weekend where Saturdays aren't as exciting and the replacement of Match of the Day on BBC One leaves an empty void in the weekend television schedule.

The resumption of the Premier League is then usually greeted with a slightly higher level of anticipation and with Norwich assuming the responsibility of entertaining the nation at Sunday tea-time, I was fairly confident we could ruin the day for those in the Toon Army.

However, Sunday 6pm arrives and I regret allowing myself to ignore the frailties of our defence and I feel foolish for falling into the 'anything can happen' mind-set as both teams walked out of the tunnel.

I want to forgo praising our attack for the two goals as at this point, focus needs to be on the fact we conceded six goals to Newcastle, 20th in the division and without a win in the Premier League this season.

Even the most positive fan has to feel a slight hint of concern that we were knocked for six by the joint-lowest scoring team in the league.

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Norwich once again find themselves in the predicament of being the highest conceding side – a glaring invite for teams to turn up with their best attacking intentions.

We undoubtedly allowed ourselves to get too caught up in the emotion of what the game meant for the home side, and concentration and discipline were two attributes our defence may still be out searching for as you read this.

Each week thus far, the 3-0 loss at Southampton aside, we have put in a fantastic account of ourselves and it was for that reason I point-blank refused to hear any criticism of our 2-2 draw with West Ham. But on that performance we really need to question, do our players have the mental strength to succeed in this division?

We clearly have players with a lot of talent, and a lot to offer in their respective positions, but time and time again we let ourselves down and fail to convert at one end, and keep the ball out of the other.

Alex Neil is right in aiming for higher than survival, but to achieve that we need to become a higher than survival team, and that involves having ability to do a job on teams when they're desperate for results.

We now need nothing less than three points at home to West Brom, so for the players it's over to you…