Is there an underlying weak spot in the Norwich City squad?

The Norwich City players look dejected as Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring Newcastle United's fourth

The Norwich City players look dejected as Dwight Gayle celebrates scoring Newcastle United's fourth goal. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City fans can be forgiven for thinking they've been struck by lightning – again.

The almost unbelievable 4-3 defeat at Newcastle United was a harsh reminder that the Canaries have a soft underbelly.

Fans saw that last season when Liverpool scored in the final minute of time added on to claim a stunning 5-4 victory at Carrow Road, moments after City had equalised.

And on Wednesday it happened all over again. the only difference was the final scoreline: the effect was just as painful as Newcastle pulled off a miraculous win with two goals long after the end of 90 minutes. The worrying thing is that six players - including three of the back four - started both games. Bad luck, coincidence - or is there a deeper problem?

'For sportsmen or women who want to be champions, the mind can be as important, if not more important, than any other part of the body' – Gary Neville.

Norwich City fans coming back from Newcastle yesterday will perhaps have wondered whether their heroes had completely lost their marbles.

It will take a while for the frazzled battalion to forget the remaining few minutes of the game at St James' Park. Wednesday, September 28, 2016 should be embedded in their minds for some time – as it should be for the players.

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Seven of those who stepped out on to the pitch were also involved in a similarly bizarre finish last season, when Liverpool came to Carrow Road and headed home with all three points after a stunning finale to the game.

That seven includes three members of the back four - Ivo Pinto, Russell Martin and Sebastien Bassong.

After both games City fans were left asking single-word questions: Why? How?

Justifiably, given that on each occasion City were leading the game 3-1. Against Liverpool they had a little over half an hour to defend a healthy lead, yet going into time added on they found themselves 4-3 down.

Bassong then scored an unlikely equaliser in the third minute of time added on and all that was left was for City fans to hang on to the final whistle to applaud their team and congratulate them on what turned out to be a bit of a fightback. Until Adam Lallana popped up with a winner – five minutes into time added on. A valuable point was in their grasp at the very, very end – yet they gave it away.

Fast forward to Newcastle on Wednesday and City were 3-1 ahead with just 20 minutes left of a game which Newcastle should have wrapped up by half-time given a string of gilt-edged chances that came their way.

But in City-time, 20 minutes is a lifetime. Dwight Gayle pulled one back, Yoan Gouffran equalised on 95 minutes and, amazingly, a minute later, Gayle completed his hat-trick. Sod's Law given how City had pursued him in the last two transfer windows.

A 3-3 draw at Newcastle? Not the worst thing in the world, albeit losing a 3-1 lead was, by then, smarting. And don't forget the wasted home chances.

But, wouldn't you know it, the old fragilities resurfaced and t Gayle ruined the big night out with a winner. In injury time. Again, City's weak spot was exposed.

It was football at its most ludicrous and, to be fair, one of the reasons we pay good money to watch it.

So, were they just freak games? And is that an acceptable defence? Or are there players whose minds are not as strong as their legs? And are the players to blame for that, or is it Alex Neil's fault? Did the 48-000-plus crowd spook them?

Did Neil get his tactics wrong? Why did Ryan Bennett not start in place of Timm Klose, rather than Bassong, who had not played a single minute of Champion ship football this season? Is Steven Naismith so far out of the picture that his experienced head wasn't deemed of use in such a demanding situation?

At 3-2 up, Bennett came on for Jacob Murphy: Newcastle knew then City were worried about losing the game, thus the initiative was handed over. They went for the kill, and got it.

The Newcastle goals were a result of: 1 Poor defending; 2 Bassong's mistake in the air; 3 A player unmarked in the area for a cross; 4 Goalkeeping error.

The wobbly defence is no solid foundation for those in front: Bassong is too often an accident waiting to happen and the full-backs are sacrificing defensive duties for attacking prowess. Never mind the search for a striker, what about the search for defensive reinforcements?

Being second in the table is excellent: what is worrying is that damned Achilles heel.