Audio: Jonny Howson takes little consolation from Norwich City relying on the results of others
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City's survival mission has swung from euphoric to despondent in the style befitting any relegation-threatened side – and it was encapsulated by the second half at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday.
From conceding a needless and eventual winner before most fans had sat down for the second half, the hardy travelling contingent was sitting more than uncomfortably – something not eased by news of Wigan taking the lead at home to Tottenham.
Such fretting over results elsewhere is par for the course.
And in the end, it was a Spurs equaliser that proved the highlight of the day for all Norwich fans – a relief and equally an indictment of their own side's performance at Stoke.
A 10th Premier League defeat on the road this season came with a failure to raise a shot on target for the second time in three.
City remain six points clear of the drop zone but Jonny Howson wasn't about to soothe disappointment with events elsewhere.
'It's in our hands and I think if you start worrying about what other teams are doing, then that could be a problem because you are relying on other people and we just need to concentrate on ourselves,' he said.
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'We're a little disappointed today. You always are when you lose a game, whatever the circumstances. I don't think both teams really went for it or out and out deserved the win
'You're never going to win a game if you have no shots on target. It was frustrating (not to work the goalkeeper) and the timing of the goal is the biggest killer for us. Coming out for the second half and when you are wanting to get a foothold in that half, and the goal changes the game.
'Once they go ahead they have got something to hold on to. They maybe get more men behind the ball and play on the counter attack, and sometimes you have to give credit to the opposition. They are a hard working side and we couldn't get into those positions where we could work the goalkeeper.'
The fine margins of top-flight football remain something of an enigma for the Canaries, whose 1-0 defeat at Wigan a month ago follow a similar pattern. But possibly the biggest frustration for the 1,300 fans who made the trip to the Britannia Stadium – where City remain winless – will have been the quality of the performance, rather than the result.
'It's never a case of going out there and settling for a point – we always come to places looking for three points, especially against teams around you,' defended Howson.
'It was a bit similar to the Wigan game and it's something we've got to learn from. Maybe we could've had a bit more quality in the final third, and that's not just the lads up front. We've changed our style of play this season for being more solid, and you can see that. But one lapse in concentration and it's cost us.
'I don't think there was too much between the two sides. The difference is they've got the goal and we haven't, and sometimes over the course of this season it's probably happened both ways. We've played well and come away with nothing, and then on the other hand I'm sure there have been games where we haven't played so well and maybe nicked something.
'But it's not a case of us going out there with a plan to see if we can hold on for the 90 minutes. You go into every game with a mindset, with a plan that you've worked on all week and you always go into every game wanting to get three points.'
And three points would be more than welcome on Saturday, when the much anticipated league return of Paul Lambert to Carrow Road arrives with Aston Villa.
'It's about bouncing back when you have results like his and we've got another big game next week,' added Howson. 'This game has gone, we can't affect it now, and we move on.'