Grant ready to wield the axe?
CHRIS LAKEY Peter Grant delivered a damning indictment of his under-performing players after suffering his first managerial defeat at Carrow Road.
Peter Grant delivered a damning indictment of his under-performing players after suffering his first managerial defeat at Carrow Road.
A lacklustre performance was only enlivened in the final 10 minutes as City tried to salvage a point against Sheffield Wednesday - but it was the turgid 80 minutes before that which concerned the City manager.
“It was completely the opposite of what I expected of a team that is representing this club,” said Grant, who was missing leading scorer Robert Earnshaw, who failed a late fitness test on a knee injury picked up in training.
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“As I said to the players, the disappointing thing is there have been a few performances where I seem to be saying the same things. I don't mind saying it once or twice, but I have probably said it to the same people three, four, five, six, seven, eight times - and then you realise maybe you have got the wrong people.
“It gives you food for thought because you see certain things too many times now. That concerns me a little bit.”
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It could spell the end for some of his regulars when Grant has the first chance to dip into the transfer market come January, and he challenged his team to match the ambitions of the board after the announcement that Darren Huckerby had agreed a one-year extension to his contract, taking him to June, 2008.
“You have to give great credit to the board because they put their money where their mouths are and kept a player who is creating interest from a lot of clubs and it shows you where they want to go,” said Grant.
“Now I have to ask the same question of the players. Where do they want to go? Do they want to go to the Premier League? Because the board have proved with the decision to try and keep Darren here that that's where they want to go and we have to try and match that with performances on the pitch - and we were way short of that today.”
Wednesday took the game by the scruff of the neck with two goals within the space of three minutes late on. Dion Dublin pulled one back as City piled men forward and there was ecstasy followed by agony in the closing minutes when City were awarded a penalty - only to see the opportunity of an equaliser snatched away when a linesman flagged for offside.
City players surrounded the match officials on the final whistle, but Grant refused to blame the officials.
“I think it would have been a total injustice on Sheffield Wednesday, to be perfectly honest with you,” he said. “They were the better side and deserved to win the game.
“If the referee made a mistake then we have made a hell of a lot of mistakes, so I think it would be clutching at straws.
“I spoke to the referee but I have no problem with that because I would have been delighted to take the point because our performance didn't deserve it.
“Let's not kid ourselves, they were the better side and deserved to win the game.
“We were a million miles off the pace at the start of the game, we started the game so slow, so disjointed. There are a million things to say - it's difficult to say something went proper and we did something well. I can't really think of that. At the end of the game you throw people forward hoping something happens and that was all it was today, you were hoping something happened and that's the way they played.
“They were waiting for somebody else to take responsibility and if you wait like that in football you will wait a hell of a long time. It is up to people to grab the game by the scruff of the neck and we just don't have players capable of doing that.”