Alan Irvine wants to keep his cool as Norwich City plot QPR’s downfall
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's collapse at Leeds enraged Alan Irvine. The Canaries' squad risk a repeat if they fail to sign off in style against QPR in Sunday's Championship finale.
City cruised into a 3-0 lead at Elland Road before being pegged back in depressingly familiar fashion.
John Ruddy's farewell, along with six other team mates, adds extra spice to a league game which is anything but meaningless to Irvine.
'There is no way I am going to accept anything dropping below what I would expect,' said the Scot. 'Performances can be good and bad, people can make mistakes but there is absolutely no reason why people should not turn up and do the job to the best of their ability.
'Looking at the 10 games since I took charge results and performances have improved, and I would love to think this game continues that and the mood at the end in the ground, and within the dressing room, is one of optimism going into next season. It would be lovely if that is the way it finishes.
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'It would be extremely disappointing for me, on a personal level, whatever happens beyond this game, if it ended on a sour note. I am still not over last week so I don't want to feel grumpy over the whole summer. The anger is still there, just under the surface.
'The shame about this job, as a manager, is when you win you can walk in and say to the players, 'well done' and then it is a case of who next, in terms of preparation. When you draw, and it feels like a defeat, you are still dwelling on it when the next game comes around.'
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Irvine has again focused on City's defensive frailties ahead of QPR's visit.
'I have probably done more work on defending in the 10 games than the rest of the season in total,' he said. 'That is not because I like to focus on defending, I just felt that was where the greater need has been. We have scored plenty of goals, but we have conceded far too many and a lot of occasions that has been down to individual errors. Those mistakes have been at crucial moments at games and led to other goals being conceded. We needed to be more resilient to cope with errors.
'Going forward, if I was here, it would be something I would look to eradicate and make sure there was a mental toughness to us that didn't trigger another goal and another goal. When I talk about defending it is as a team, not just the goalkeeper and the back four, especially if you have a team with expansive full backs. With Ivo Pinto and Mitchell Dijks you want them galloping on. If we want centre backs to step out with the ball we must have players who recognise that and fill in.'
Norwich owe Rangers one after another woeful away day gifted Ian Holloway a winning start to his second stint in charge at Loftus Road.
'I think our game was his first and they got a good response and picked up points around that period which have kept them in the division,' said Irvine. 'If they had not had that then they would have been relegated. Since they have had a difficult period in the last month and when that happens in April it will have a big effect in terms of league position. They got a great result against (Nottingham) Forest last week, which meant they were safe, and probably means they come into this game quite relaxed. If they do play to their levels then like any other team in the Championship they can cause you problems.'