Grant slams 'disgraceful' defending

CHRIS LAKEY Norwich City boss Peter Grant was left to lament three "disgraceful" pieces of defending as the New Year began with another defeat for the Canaries yesterday.


Norwich City boss Peter Grant was left to lament three "disgraceful" pieces of defending as the New Year began with another defeat for the Canaries yesterday.

Having gifted Palace a goal against the run of play, City committed the cardinal sin of repeating the New Year bargain offer, not once, but twice.

It was a game City should have taken by the scruff of the neck much earlier, with Grant seeing his strikers miss a host of quality chances in the opening 20 minutes and then fail to peg back a Palace team who will be mightily relieved to have gone home with three points.

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"It was the start, the ending and the middle - I thought we dominated the game," he said. "I think Crystal Palace maybe had a 10-minute spell.

"We can't legislate for the goals we lost. First ball in the box, we don't defend it properly, second one is a mistake by Gary Doherty and then conceding a goal after you have got yourselves back into it is disgraceful to be honest with you.

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"The overall performance was excellent, but unfortunately the game is won in both boxes. We didn't take our chances in the opposition's box and we defended sloppily for their goals.

"I would have been devastated to come away from here with just a point, but absolutely gutted to come away with nothing."

However, while Grant laid the blame at his defence, he denied he would be in the market for a new central defender during the January transfer window.

"Not at all, they have been excellent," he said. "They have done very well and I thought they played at a canter today, then Gary got sloppy and it cost a goal dearly.

"Good central defenders don't do that, they don't take chances when you are dominating games like that. The best centre backs put it straight back in behind you and turn the opposition round and we didn't do that.

"That is something he has got to eradicate - he won't do it again because if he does it again he won't play, it is as simple as that.

But his all-round performance other than that was excellent."

The first 20 minutes were crucial to the outcome as City missed chance after chance, but Grant was disappointed at the problems in front of goal throughout.

"The full game you look at it and you need to be ruthless in both boxes and we weren't ruthless enough. We had so many chances but our final ball - Huckerby was excellent in the second half but I thought his final ball in the first half was poor. We had too many clear-cut chances and didn't take them and when you are dominating a game like we were, not to go in front in that period always gives the opposition a sniff.

"To lose the goal we did was soul destroying, when you are dominating as much and then to concede one two or three minutes later, I felt was totally against the run of play.

"It was very, very difficult to take because we had dominated the game for such long periods, not just in the first period but the second as well. Not many teams will come to Crystal Palace and dominate as much as that."

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