No excuses for latest away day flop
Nigel Worthington says he takes full responsibility for Norwich City's latest away flop - but won't be walking away from his job. In scenes reminiscent of the dark days of last season, the chants of We Want Worthy Out began to ring out at Home Park as City caved in against a Plymouth team which hadn't been able to win on their own ground in any of its previous five attempts.
Nigel Worthington says he takes full responsibility for Norwich City's latest away flop - but won't be walking away from his job.
In scenes reminiscent of the dark days of last season, the chants of We Want Worthy Out began to ring out at Home Park as City caved in against a Plymouth team which hadn't been able to win on their own ground in any of its previous five attempts.
Worthington again pointed the finger at his players, as he had done after the accusing them of lacking desire and passion, but admitted the buck stopped with him.
“I don't ask for a lot from the players but I do ask for passion and desire, and we didn't show that in abundance,” said Worthington.
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“But that comes from me and I have got to deal with it and make sure we sort it out.
“There are no excuses. We've got some good players here but today the performance levels were not good enough.”
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And although three Championship managers lost their jobs last week, Worthington insists he does not feel under any pressure.
“I don't feel any pressure, I feel disappointed for the supporters who have travelled a long way, paid good money, given up a lot of time to see that,” he said.
“What I am disappointed with is the performance level. I can deal with all the other bits and bobs, that is part of the job nowadays.
“If you don't want to be in it get out. I want to be in it, I enjoy it. I have said before I love the job and certainly from my point of view it won't be from the lack of trying.”
City went behind to a Gary Doherty own goal inside quarter of an hour and, although there were signs of a fightback, it never materialised.
“It was a very, very disappointing performance,” said Worthington. “The one thing I do ask from the players is to play with passion and energy - I thought we started the game reasonably well, up until the own goal and that was real blow for us. The second goal was an ever bigger blow, and then there are a lot of characters go missing.
“So the passion, the energy that I look for, the desire we haven't got, certainly the fight wasn't there, and that is what I am more disappointed with and I take full responsibility for the result.”
What happens next is vital if City are to resurrect a season which, even at such an early stage, is beginning to slip away.
Worthington's problems will probably not be confined to the training fields of Colney where, he admitted, he sees the other side of his Jekyll and Hyde team.
“If we can play how we train - I am sure there are many teams say the same thing - it is like two different groups in some games,” he said.
“In training we see some of the things coming out good and today it is as if you are working with a different group. But we will keep working at it, we'll stick at it and get it right.”
The first thing will be to sort out the wheat from the chaff.
“You try and get the players in there that want to play, it's as simple as that,” he said.
“I will be asking next week for players with passion and if that means picking a team from that then so be it, that will be the starting XI, the most passionate ones, because it was not good enough.
“Today wasn't good enough, straightforward and simple as that.”
Having seen Doherty put the ball past Paul Gallacher, it just got worse for City as they allowed Marcel Seip, on his full debut, to head a second from another corner, before the defence parted like the Red Sea to allow David Norris to put the game beyond the visitors' reach. Robert Earnshaw's injury-time goal was of no consolation.
“I was disappointed with all three goals,” said Worthington.
“The first one is a good ball in but they get the bounce of the ball, where it comes off our own player, but a good delivery. The second goal is too easy and third goal is not much harder.”
Worthington, who gave new signing Dion Dublin 35 minutes, had dropped central defender Jason Shackell in preference to club captain Craig Fleming.
“A decision was made to give him a little breather and bring Flem in,” said Worthington.
“I thought the time was right after Tuesday night to make a straightforward decision.”
Next up is a home game against Burnley next Sunday, a match which has the added pressure of the Sky TV cameras following City's - and Worthington's - every move.
The orders are simple for a game which, whatever the protestations, may have so many ramifications.
“They are all big games and next Sunday, Burnley on the TV, we will be looking for people to stand up,” said Worthington.
“I'll certainly be standing up and I will see how many are standing around me.”