Andrew Surman: Norwich City didn’t reach usual high standards against Sunderland

Andrew Surman acknowledged Norwich City failed to reach their usual high standards as they were punished by Martin O'Neill's buoyant Sunderland, 3-0 at the Stadium of Light on Wednesday night.

The Black Cats dominated proceedings from start to finished as the Canaries suffered a first defeat on the road since the start of December and their first loss of the new year.

But as much as the 3-0 scoreline reflected Sunderland's efforts, it was the manner of Norwich's performance Surman admitted will be hardest to take – with the visit of struggling Bolton to Carrow Road on Saturday next on City's horizon.

'If we had lost 3-0 but played really well then maybe you can take some positives out of it,' said Surman. 'But for the standards we have set this season, it wasn't good enough and we have got to make sure we bounce back on Saturday and get a result.

'It was really tough. We were playing a team on top of their game at the moment and we didn't quite reach the levels we have this season and we got punished. We never really got going and it's really disappointing. It's a hard one to swallow but there is another game in three days and we have got to make sure we get up for that one.'

Much of the pre-match build-up to Wednesday's game surrounded the reunion of O'Neill and Lambert – and arguably the latter's side was undone by a commitment and tempo that has served Norwich so well since Lambert's arrival at Carrow Road in August 2009.

'They did that, they played really well,' said Surman. 'They are a team playing at the top of their game at the moment. He has given them a real spark coming into the club and they have been on a good run. We knew it was going to be difficult today, but unfortunately we didn't do enough to get anything out of the game and we met a team full of confidence.'