Andrew Surman: Norwich City must be quick learners
Andrew Surman believes Norwich City need to prove they are quick learners, and fast – after their winless return to the Premier League continued in controversial fashion on Sunday.
Visitors West Bromwich Albion took all three points thanks to Peter Odemwingie's third minute strike and despite the striker's late penalty being saved by Declan Rudd – the fourth spot kick City have conceded in as many top-flight outings.
The Canaries had plenty of chances to level yet failed to trouble Albion goalkeeper Ben Foster, leaving one early hesitation from the City defence settling matters – and Surman admitted that is something no one can get away with in the Premier League.
'It's a feeling of disappointment (in the dressing room),' said the former Wolves midfielder, making his third start of the campaign. 'And it's a feeling that we can't keep coming out and saying we were unlucky or we should have done this or should have done that.
'We have got to learn quickly. I think the manager has said it, learn from our mistakes, and I think we've got to try and take the positives out if it and hope the tide will turn.
'If we can start taking a few chances and keeping it a bit tighter defensively then we've got every chance, but if we concede silly goals and soft goals we are probably not going to give ourselves the best chance.
'You can't afford to give away goals like that, especially in the first three minutes, because when you are in the Premier League teams will punish you and they know how to see out leads. So it was always going to be an uphill struggle.
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'But I thought the lads reacted well and we probably did deserve something out of it.'
Referee Mark Halsey left Carrow Road to a flood of boos after what the home support saw was a shocking decision to award Albion a 75th minute penalty, when Steven Reid fell at the merest of contact with City substitute Steve Morison.
But what secured did the referee's villain role was when he failed to award Norwich an injury-time spot kick after James Vaughan – making his debut from the bench – clocked an elbow from centre-back Gabriel Tamas.
The striker had to sit out most of the final exchanges with blood pouring from a cut lip, before taking a trip to hospital to get it fixed.
'We've obviously got the benefit of looking on the replays, but I think it looked a pretty stonewall elbow,' said Surman. 'Whether the FA will take action I'm not sure, but he (Vaughan) obviously wasn't happy about and I think it did look a pretty bad one, so I think we were disappointed we didn't get the decision but these things happen.
'Their penalty didn't really change the course of the game anyway, so looking back at that we're disappointed with the decision but it was a great save by Dec and it still remained 1-0. But we can't look at that as an excuse really.
'It was disappointing. Again, the performance was great. Just like Chelsea, we deserved something out of that game and we definitely deserved at least point today.
'Going forward we created enough chances. We had a lot of the play but probably were not quite clinical enough in front of goal.'
Having missed out on making the matchday squad at Stamford Bridge, Surman was glad to be in the action on Sunday – with City returning to action after the two-week international break.
'It's torturing really with the international break,' he said. 'That's the thing, with the Championship if you don't maybe play as well on the Saturday you've got a Tuesday game to put it right, whereas this is Saturday, Saturday and then an international break.'
Surman added: 'In the Premier League it's a squad game and players are going to be coming in. The manager might need different players for different games, so I think it's just a case of when you do get a chance, taking your opportunity, try and show as much as you can and try to keep your place.
'I thought I did all right today, it's just disappointing with the loss.'
Norwich remain winless this season with a trip to Bolton ahead on Saturday.
'We have got to go up there and grind out a result,' added Surman. 'Playing at home you have all the fans behind you but going away we still usually sell our allocation and we've got a great following away from home, so it doesn't really matter where we are playing – the main thing is we grind out a result whether we play well or not.
'It's obviously going to be much tougher to get points in the Premier League but we still believe we can do it. It's been a slow start but I think we've played pretty well here and against Chelsea we definitely deserved something out of the game, which is saying something really because they are a top four team and to be disappointed with a loss is pretty positive I think.
'We have just got to stay positive and keep believing that we can get something out of games.'