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Iwan Roberts: Norwich City’s season is dying a slow death that is hard to watch

PUBLISHED: 07:00 06 April 2018

Wes Hoolahan reacts after City concede their first goal at QPR. 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Wes Hoolahan reacts after City concede their first goal at QPR. Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222

With two defeats in the space of four days for Norwich City, I think it’s fair to say it’s been anything but a Happy Easter for the Canaries.

I wasn’t surprised that Fulham came to Carrow Road on Good Friday and won. After all, Norwich have beaten them just the once in 22 games, and with Fulham flying, having not lost in their previous 16 outings, it was always going to be a tall order for Daniel Farke’s men.

If I’m honest I wasn’t shocked that QPR beat Norwich on Monday, but what did shock me was the manner of the defeat, especially with Norwich going a goal up in the first half.

Rangers were in decent form, having lost just the once in their last six games and having beaten tomorrow’s opponents Aston Villa at Villa Park recently. They also had that comeback from 2-0 down at Craven Cottage to nick a point a couple of weeks ago which showed that it was going to be a tough test, and that’s exactly what it was.

With just one win in their last 10 games Norwich’s season is dying a very slow death and it’s painful to watch. I’ve always said that players need to be able to adapt but it’s also true for coaches and managers.

It’s quite clear the way Daniel Farke wants his team to play is frustrating the life out of the supporters and it’s plain to see that something needs to change, and change quickly. The fact that Norwich have scored fewer goals than second-from-bottom Sunderland tells you everything. Everything is oh so predictable, there’s no real urgency in the team, the tempo is non-existent and that comes from the head coach, that’s how he wants his team to play.

It might be okat in the German reserve league where the emphasis is on ball retention, but this is the Championship and having played in it for over 15 years I know just how tough a league it is. If Norwich aren’t careful they could be in it for the next few seasons, and at the minute I think it’s fair to say that the club’s nearer playing in League One than the Premier League the way things are going.

At the minute there are far more doubters than believers that this new regime is working and with just six games to go the players need to go out there and make a real statement of intent in the final few fixtures, which won’t be easy with the likes of Villa, Cardiff and Preston still to play.

I remember the 1997-98 season – my first at the club – when we’d had a poor season. Me, in particular, had a shocker and had found things very difficult since signing from Wolves, but we won three of our last four games, finishing on a high, scoring 10 goals in our last two home games, against Huddersfield and Swindon.

In those three victories people could see a partnership between myself and Craig Bellamy blossoming and it gave us all hope in looking forward to next season. Towards the end of the season I just went out and thought, ‘sod it, just go and enjoy the last few games and play without fear or pressure’, and it worked as I scored four goals in three games and it did help me a great deal in winning people over.

I just think the lads for the last six games should go out there and really express themselves and play with a freedom, play fast attacking football and just see what happens, as, let’s be honest, it can’t be any worse than the past few weeks.

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