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CHRIS LAKEY Norwich striker Robert Earnshaw backed Nigel Worthington's stinging post-match criticism of his side after the Canaries self-destructed at Southend.
Norwich striker Robert Earnshaw backed Nigel Worthington's stinging post-match criticism of his side after the Canaries self-destructed at Southend.
Worthington accused the visitors of going 'AWOL' once Earnshaw's brace and Dickson Etuhu's first league goal for the club had put Norwich in cruise control at Roots Hall.
Steven Hammell's free kick handed the Championship new boys a lifeline before Mark Gower pounced in stoppage time to complete a fairytale comeback and trigger Worthington's outburst.
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“The last 20 seconds of the game killed the whole night for us,” admitted Earnshaw, who moved clear at the top of the Championship goal charts with his fifth and sixth of a productive season. “We were gutted in the changing room and it does feel like we tossed away two points. When you go 3-1 up then the game should be comfortable, but you've still got to see it out and finish the job.”
Earnshaw warns Norwich must learn lessons quickly after shipping six goals on their travels following a weekend 3-0 capitulation against Coventry at the Ricoh Arena.
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“It's disappointing for the players and all the supporters - particularly after Saturday,” said the Welshman. “For the majority of the game it was a good performance and if we repeat that then there should be no problem. We got the goals, the lads were passing it well and for the most part we defended solidly. Southend were constantly putting long balls into the box but we were handling that pressure. Then they get a little bit of luck, a rebound off the keeper, and the guy is in the right place to smash home.
“We need to deal with the second balls better. For the first one we get a head to a free kick but we must clear it when the ball drops in the box.”
Worthington had no sympathy for his deflated side at full time.
“We thought the game became too easy and we got what we deserved,” he said. “I'm talking about all areas. At 3-1, if we do it properly, we can see the game out. I thought some of our lot thought it was 4-1, 5-1.
“It's like a defeat and rightly so - they only have themselves to blame. You try to get messages on to the pitch, you are looking for leaders and we have all gone AWOL. I can't see any, I can't hear any, and if you invite enough pressure, sure enough something gives and that's what happened.”
Meanwhile, Everton's teenage left-back Patrick Boyle is reportedly a Worthington loan target.
The Glaswegian-born defender graduated from the Goodison Park youth ranks alongside Wayne Rooney.
A regular in the Toffees' reserve set-up, Boyle has been restricted to just one appearance in David Moyes' first-team squad - an unused substitute against champions Chelsea earlier this year.
Worthington has identified defensive cover for captain Adam Drury as a priority in his loan dealings, while his search for an attacking player also continues.