Grant: I know how fans feel
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant last night accepted the blame for the Boxing Day flop which saw the Canaries booed off after being held to a goalless draw by the Championship's bottom side.
Peter Grant last night took the blame for the Boxing Day flop which saw the Canaries booed off after being held to a goalless draw by the Championship's bottom side.
The City boss felt the full wrath of angry home fans as his side plumbed new depths in a run which has seen them fail to win any of their last five games.
There were cries of "what a load of rubbish" at the final whistle - and Grant said he knew exactly how the fans felt.
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"I am very critical of the team and I have been critical of the support before and I would have been singing the exact same thing," said Grant. "I will take full responsibility for that. It has been typical of the home performances to be fair, very poor. I can't make any excuses."
Southend have now taken four points off City this season, but yesterday's draw hurt much more than the 3-3 draw at Roots Hall in September, when the Canaries were denied all three points by a last-minute equaliser.
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Yesterday, Southend were without ace marksman Freddy Eastwood, who was suffering from a virus, and finished the game with only 10 men after defender Efe Sodje was sent off just before the hour mark.
And while Grant still harbours hopes of getting into a promotion position, yesterday's evidence suggests City - in 17th place in the table - need something akin to a minor miracle to achieve it.
"We are making it very, very difficult to say the least," he said.
"I expected to be a lot, lot closer, if not in the play-off positions, by now. It's no use kidding ourselves, that is where I expected us to be. It has not worked out that way, we have not performed well enough to do that. On performances we deserve to be where we are, there's no getting away from that."
Grant will be dipping into the transfer market next month, but admitted that City aren't exactly selling themselves to prospective new players.
"To try and be an attractive proposition for somebody you have got to give performances that push you up the table so you are challenging - and you won't do yourself any favours with that," he said.
The hope is that he can bring in four or five new players to cure a problem he saw when he first arrived, back in October.
"That's the ideal scenario," he said. "I have always said not just after today, that we have a total imbalance in the team, too many similar types of players. I have always felt that and it would be great to have freshness about the group.
"We have two more games but it doesn't change my thoughts on what I'd like to bring in. We have to perform much better. I will take responsibility - people say I could have freshened it up. Yes, I could have, but it would have been replacing like for like. I still think that is the problem, replacing like for like; we are not changing it to change something tactically, you end up just changing the same player for another one."
Grant had concerns over winger Darren Huckerby, who started despite being troubled by a tight hamstring, and his problems increased in the warm-up, when skipper Adam Drury was ruled out with a hip problem. Andy Hughes slotted in at left-back, with Craig Fleming promoted to the bench.
However, City had started brightly enough, but couldn't find a way through a defence which lost one of its centre-halves two thirds of the way through.
"The first 10, 15 minutes of the game we could have scored three," said Grant. "I said it was important to get a proper start but even in that there were certain things that weren't right.
"We allowed them too much time to get into the game, we just didn't play close enough to the opposition and made it easy for them. I could have played in midfield in the first half with the amount of space they were getting. It was very frustrating, not just midfield but all over the pitch. I thought all over the pitch we were very, very ordinary, to say the least."
City's task should have been easier when Sodje was shown a straight red for a tackle that caught Etuhu on his right knee, but in the end it was Southend who threatened a breakaway goal.
"I have played in games like that and sometimes it is easier to play with 10 because people work harder to close you down," Grant added. "We got good opportunities but our final ball was awful, we didn't put enough pressure on, sometimes we were taking too many touches to get a cross in, then the cross coming in was poor.
"But it would have been an injustice on Southend if we'd ended up scoring in that period. We weren't good enough."