Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-1 Championship defeat against QPR
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his snap verdict from Loftus Road
1. 'Neil, sort it out' - The chant was audible and loud from the disenchanted 3,000 or so in the Norwich City away end. Steven Naismith's late header, allied to the fact the Canaries played virtually with a man less for the entire duration, may cast a more generous reflection on this fourth straight league defeat but again there was a lack of appetite, application and aggression. Neil said after the Leeds defeat the buck stops with him. The balance of power, however, resides with the fans - despite warm words from the owners and the chief executive prior to the international break. There was no mass turning against the Scot but the tipping point appears to have been reached with a growing swathe of disgruntled Norwich supporters.
2. One point from 15. Promotion push? More like relegation form - The statistics in this case do not lie. Norwich have been abysmal since imploding in such graphic fashion at Fulham. This current trend will rapidly leave the Canaries with too much ground to make up when the real business is decided in 2017.
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3. Talking of points. Albert Einstein had one - The great man labelled the definition of insanity as repeating the same thing and expecting a different outcome. Try telling that to Norwich's players, with regard to their chronic inability to defend set pieces. The carnage that ensued leading to Martin Olsson's red card and early penalty for QPR from a throw-in, followed by the opening goal from a home corner, exposed more vulnerability. Sebastian Polter rose unmarked before Conor Washington was afforded the freedom of the Norwich penalty area to slot the first goal. Neil shuffled his pack in terms of personnel but the outcome remained the same. Which only begs the question just what was the defensive work the manager alluded to at his pre-match press call which was the focus over the international break?
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4. The more things change,.. - Neil was criticised for being too loyal to his failing players after the Leeds defeat when he made only one enforced change to his starting line up. Not this time, with six new faces at Loftus Road and recalls for the likes of John Ruddy, Seb Bassong and Steven Naismith. But the result was no better and it will be the manager who will get the flak again.
5. Red mist or just pure comedy gold? - Set aside for a moment the enduring problems in a downturn of epic proportions, that continued in west London, and even by Norwich's standards there was a comedic feel to the manner of Martin Olsson's red card. Not only given barely 40 seconds of playing-time had elapsed before the incident that led to his dismissal, but also in the manner he was sprawling flat out on his own line trying to claw the ball with his arm. Perhaps on reflection it was entirely in keeping with the current state of affairs in the Canary Nation.