Not good enough - Smith's brutal verdict after Magpies point
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Dean Smith delivered a brutally honest verdict Norwich City slipped below the standards he expects, after a 1-1 Premier League draw on Tuesday night against 10-man Newcastle United.
City had to rely on Teemu Pukki’s thumping strike to salvage a point despite the Magpies having Ciaran Clark sent off in the ninth minute at St James’ Park.
Callum Wilson rifled a penalty past Tim Krul, after Billy Gilmour was penalised for handball, but City hit back to maintain Smith’s unbeaten run since replacing Daniel Farke.
“I am frustrated and disappointed because that is the worst we have played under me in the three games,” said the Norwich boss. “Obviously the gameplan changes for both teams when Ciaran Clark gets sent off.
"For me, I would much rather Teemu goes through and scores the goal rather than it goes 10 versus 11.
“They were camped in their half and for long periods defended their box really well. We didn’t do enough to win the game because we didn’t show enough quality in the final third, in all honesty. I just felt we were a little pedestrian on the ball, we needed to move it quicker.
“It wasn’t until we scored our goal actually that we moved the ball with any tempo or pace. We double switched it and Teemu has scored a wonderful goal but we didn’t do enough of that after the sending off so we didn’t get enough big chances.”
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Smith did feel aggrieved at the video assistant referee intervention for the hosts’ penalty, finally awarded after a pitchside review from the referee.
“Does it hit his arm? Yes, but the referee for me knows it has hit his arm and pointed to a corner,” he said. “Probably because of the proximity of how close he was to the header.
"I am told there is a law that if the arm is above your shoulder it has to be a penalty but if it takes 90 seconds to make a decision in the studio then surely that is not a clear and obvious decision.
"I am just disappointed that at the moment it feels the on pitch referee isn’t given enough responsibility to make the big decisions.
"We knew this was a big game, probably bigger for Newcastle because they had not won yet this season. It keeps our unbeaten run going. Defensively I thought we were good.
"I told them to keep their heads at half-time because you knew Newcastle would be looking for any touch to win set pieces and free kicks.
"That is how they ended up getting their goal. But the perseverance and character of the players is there for all to see. They kept battling away, they get another point.”