Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-0 Championship defeat against Cardiff City
PUBLISHED: 17:03 14 April 2018 | UPDATED: 23:07 14 April 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Punch drunk - Norwich carved out any number of opportunities, but much like Fulham on Good Friday, there was an inevitability to the outcome. Cardiff left it late but the Bluebirds’ attacking play as the second half elapsed was laced with that self-belief you associate with teams used to winning and fighting out promotion.
Norwich caught Aston Villa cold last weekend but when they failed to break the deadlock it was no surprise Neil Warnock’s men delivered the knockout blows.
Angus Gunn foiled Kenneth Zohore but will not want to see the space he left at his near post for the follow up.
Junior Hoilett twisted the knife. It was another reminder of the levels in the second tier. And City’s status in the current pecking order.
2. Seen and rarely heard - You remember the old maxim. The sign of a good refereeing display used to hinge on barely noticing the presence of the man in the middle.
That is not a label you would attach to Mr Tim Robinson after his last two brushes with Norwich City.
The whistleblower who awarded that ‘phantom’ penalty to Hull City on Humberside showed few signs of wishing to make amends. Even if only on a sub-conscious level.
If anything there was an even bigger negative reaction from vast swathes of the Carrow Road support. Cardiff’s abrasive approach, playing right on the line, hardly helped his cause but the demeanour and the way he tried to ‘manage’ proceedings merely contributed to the swirling frustration. Daniel Farke was convinced Harrison Reed was felled early in the second half for a home penalty.
A break for both parties until next season might be a benevolent act from his superiors.
3. Goodbye Alex? - Norwich clearly would like to keep Tettey when his current contract expires.
The Norwegian revealed recently there was an offer, but you also get the sense it is a long way short of the milk and honey of the good times in the Premier League.
That is the financial reality now in play at Carrow Road.
Should this be the final embers of his City career, this type of contest was a good reminder of what the Canaries will miss. It was such a shame his final contribution was a poor headed clearance pounced on by Hoilett to seal the win.
The nous, the experience to position himself in areas of the field to quell the danger from Cardiff counters was masterful at times.
In the second half he brought a ball out of the sky and killed it with one touch.
The attempted scissors kick from a James Maddison free kick may have been a bridge too far, but Tettey will take some replacing.
4. Midfield mix, circa 2018/19 - That brings one on nicely to how Norwich’s midfield mix is taking shape beyond the summer.
With major question marks over Tettey and Maddison for that matter, plus Moritz Leitner and Reed returning to sender, Farke and sporting director Stuart Webber will need a deft touch.
Ben Godfrey and perhaps Louis Thompson will come into the equation to provide an alternative for Tettey.
Kenny McLean offers a more creative option but there is no doubt fresh tours of duty for Leitner and Reed would be well received in these parts.
The scale of the ovation that accompanied Leitner’s late substitution tells you how much the German technician has been embraced.
5. More than meets the eye - Dennis Srbeny opened his goal account for the club against Aston Villa.
There was a stabbed close range effort against a post here and a goal-saving block from Sean Morrison that prevented him from adding to his account.
Srbeny knows better than anyone he will be judged on his goal output. In a game that appeared to be meandering to a stalemate, Zohore showed a potent instinct to follow up his initial header, saved by Gunn, to slot the opener from a tight angle.
That was the difference in another Championship contest higher on toil and endeavour than pure quality.
Nevertheless there was a moment in the second half when the striker plucked Timm Klose’s raking clearance out of the air, turned and clipped a gorgeous pass for the overlapping Reed.
It underlined there is perhaps much more to the powerfully-built frontman. Farke will need to work on the raw material. But the ingredients are there.
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