Smith 'hurting' after City's 3-0 Palace defeat
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Dean Smith will have to pick himself up before trying to raise spirits in a depleted Norwich City squad who slumped to a 3-0 Premier League defeat at Crystal Palace on Tuesday.
Teemu Pukki, Max Aarons and Todd Cantwell were the latest absentees for what the club termed ‘injury and illness-related' reasons to continue a depressing theme for the rock-bottom Canaries after a 5-0 Boing Day rout against Arsenal.
Some of Norwich’s travelling fans vented their frustration prior to the interval, after the Eagles raced into a 3-0 lead, with chants of ‘you’re not fit to wear the shirt’. There was more anger at the final whistle, following a fifth consecutive defeat without scoring a goal.
“I think my dog is in for a five hour walk,” said Smith. “I have to pick myself up first before the lads. I said to the players at half-time you need to go out and show some character and pride in the second half. I didn’t think it was a 3-0 game at that stage. But the manner of the goals disappoints me.
"I know the scoreline and result is what some people only want to talk about but we created chances to score today, a lot more than previous games, but we failed to take them.
“We are halfway there and we haven’t got anywhere near the points, and the optimism we had when we first came in has ebbed away with these last three results. We are lacking a lot of experience and leaders in the group through injury or illness.
“The scoreline hurts. We have conceded a soft penalty, Ken (McLean) held his hands up, it might not be given in some games as he didn’t make contact in the air but when the lad plants his foot I can understand why it is. I have no complaints. Then it is fairly even, but in the 38th minute, the game changes when we have a big chance for Lungi (Jacob Sorensen), who doesn’t connect, and they break and we don’t recover.
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"I feel we should be blocking that shot. It is not a big chance and when it goes 2-0 it knocks the stuffing out of us. Then naivety in our box when they are allowed to take five or six touches and (Jeffrey) Schlupp smashes it across (Angus) Gunn.
“What we had when we came in I was quietly optimistic with the quality of this squad we had enough but it has been decimated at the moment. Teemu, Todd and Max all pulled out on Monday with a mixture of illness and injury.
"I have been outspoken about the effects of the festive scheduling with Omicron about. I know it is the same for all teams but I don’t think it is fair four games are played within 48 hours of Boxing Day. If it is a fair competition then everybody should be playing. It is tough to turnaround a team with injuries and illness.
“To top it off Dimi (Giannoulis) pulled out at half-time. He didn’t feel he could go on with a foot injury.”