Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s bizarre 4-3 Championship defeat at Hull City
PUBLISHED: 23:40 10 March 2018 | UPDATED: 11:32 11 March 2018
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from the KCOM Stadium
1. Maderzzz-ness - Where do you start? Seven goals, four penalties. James Maddison’s 21-minute hat-trick, Moritz Leitner’s potential season-ending injury.
There were enough plot lines at the KCOM to fill a big budget movie.
All that after Norwich could have been four goals down before they opened the scoring, after a sluggish opening from the men in purple was pounced on by a Hull who Daniel Farke warned pre-match would be ‘desperate’ for points in their relegation battle.
City will surely feel this is a game that should never have got away from them after Maddison slotted his second penalty of the afternoon to nudge them 3-1 in front but for once in recent months it was defensive vulnerability rather than fitful attacking productivity that let them down.
2. Goals galore. But at the wrong end - Norwich scored three for the first time away from home in the Championship this season. And lost.
Given the superbly resolute manner of any number of victories on the road this painful defeat should serve as a valuable lesson for Farke’s young roster.
Scoring goals may have proved frustratingly elusive but that will not trigger a great leap forward if they defend in such fraught fashion as they did on Humberside. Alex Tettey needed more support across midfield areas while Harrison Reed, for the first time in his emergency shift at right back, looked vulnerable when the Tigers surged forward.
Ultimately this result may have hinged on Hull’s greater urgency for league points to aid their plight, but Farke would be well advised to digest the lessons from this carnage.
3. Temperament to go with the talent - Farke restored Nelson Oliveira to his starting line up, after the Portugal international was dropped in midweek when his coach questioned the 26-year-old’s approach to training.
It is not the first time the gifted striker has had to be reminded of his responsibilities by the German. Josh Murphy and Marley Watkins at various points of the season have also felt Farke’s wrath.
But the magical Maddison has the temperament and the work ethic to embellish his natural gifts.
The way he coolly stepped up to alter the flow of this game in a frenetic opening quarter, the manner he slotted not one but two penalties underlined he has the character and composure to go with his class.
Maddison is the full package.
4. Patience required, Jamal - City’s impressive young defender is another off the talent production line who has grabbed his chance in the senior ranks.
But Lewis himself has spoken recently about the need to keep calm and carry on during the hottest part of Championship contests.
Timm Klose arguably saved him from a second yellow in the win at Bristol City.
But there was another rash moment just two minutes after Norwich had eased into a 3-1 lead at Hull, when he found himself the wrong side of Jarrod Bowen and in his desperation to win an aerial duel bundled into the Tigers’ man to concede a penalty.
It was a vital lifeline for a home side listing badly at the wrong end of the table.
Farke called Lewis ‘naïve’ when he conceded a needless corner in the home defeat to Sheffield United that led to the Blades’ winner.
The left-back is learning his trade in an unforgiving environment.
5. Plenty at stake - The City chief said before the midweek game against Nottingham Forest there would be no downing tools on his watch between now and the end of the campaign.
Lingering promotion hopes have gone.
Relegation is not an issue but Farke will not settle for second gear from his players.
There was no way Norwich could be accused of such a charge, despite losing a bizarre seven-goal contest, but there needs to be more good days than bad now until May to really harness a sense of renewal and forward momentum going into another pivotal summer for the club.
To let the season drift away and fall the wrong side of epic contests like this one on a regular basis would be criminal.
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