Audio: Russell Martin laments an unusual Norwich City off-day
Russell Martin lamented an FA Cup opportunity missed as Leicester City dumped an under-par Canaries out at Carrow Road to make it through to the quarter-finals.
The Foxes' expensive and inconsistent squad had one of their good days on Saturday, while Norwich failed to get going.
'It's a massive opportunity missed,' admitted Martin. 'It's a feeling of immense disappointment and frustration really. It was a good tie in which to try and progress.
'It wasn't an easy tie by all means and they are a good side, and they have spent a lot of money with a big wage bill and all that.
'But today we just didn't hit our high standards from start to finish. Going a goal down early doesn't help but I just think we were a fraction off it, a few second off it, as a team. Everywhere round the pitch they were winning second balls and it's not like us – that's the disappointing thing.
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'It hasn't happened too much over the last few years but we were just a shade off it and we've been punished.'
Leicester's squad looked good on paper before kick-off – and managed even better on grass, Martin labelling the Foxes as good as some of the Premier League teams to make the trip to Carrow Road this season.
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And for Martin, that came as little surprise given the Foxes have spent plenty of money in recent times – including �5m on centre-back Matt Mills: 'The spent all that on a centre-half, and that's more than we pay for our strikers – I'm sure their wage bill is a lot higher than ours as well.'
But Martin denied the absence of rested skipper Grant Holt played any part in Norwich's failure on Saturday: 'It was just one of those days,' he added. 'Going behind didn't help and you're chasing the game then.
'There's a bit of tension which doesn't help, but as players we have got to deal with that and we have dealt with that so well.
'There were times last season when we went one goal down early and we'd always come back. Today we got the penalty but we still didn't look like our usual selves.
'Leicester just beat us at their game. They played the way they wanted to play and stopped us playing the way we wanted to play. It got more of a battle and that probably suited them a bit more.
'Credit to them, they played when they could but I think they came here and their game plan really worked. When teams want to play like that we need to win the battle, and more often than not we do but today we just fell a little bit short – not for want of effort or energy but just a little bit of quality, which is surprising because all season we've been up there.'
The Canaries were given a frustrated reception from the home fans at the final whistle – and Martin saw why.
'We never gave them anything to get cheering with and that's a disappointment – from our side usually we give them something; even if we get beat we have a right good go,' said Martin.
But history proves Paul Lambert's Norwich City is more than capable of bouncing back from disappointment with a memorable result – something the visit of defending Premier League champions Manchester United could quite easily provide come Sunday.
'That's one thing you'll always get from this squad and manager, we will always bounce back well and I'm sure that will be the case.'