‘You’ve got to win your battles to play our style’ – but defender knows City didn’t quite earn their rewards
©Focus Images Limited www.focus-images.co.uk +447814 482222
It was another sharp learning curve for Jamal Lewis as Neil Warnock’s wily Cardiff pulled out a precious late win over Norwich City, to give their Championship automatic promotion hopes a major shot in the arm at Carrow Road.
Two goals inside the last four minutes plus injury time did the damage, after an afternoon where the Canaries and this year’s breakthrough act at left-back had more than held their own.
“Obviously a lot of people will have seen Cardiff’s style of play and see they don’t really bring a good style or maybe even dominate most games,” said Lewis.
“But they are clinical in the final third, they stick to what they do and put balls in the box, and it shows they are able to grind out games a little better than us maybe – and that’s why they’re in the position they are and we’re in the position we are.
“Hopefully we can take that kind of mentality into next season and the last three games, and show the fans something really great.”
The story for Daniel Farke’s side may have been different had City taken some of their decent opportunities before Cardiff broke the deadlock – and Lewis can see the progress that mid-table Norwich are making.
“Aston Villa, Fulham even though we lost, and Reading – we’ve shown we can bring a few more chances to games,” said Lewis. “I think that’s what we’ve done in the last few home games and obviously against Villa we were clinical and played very well.
“We were a little bit unfortunate against Cardiff but we showed the fans a little bit more of what we can do.
“We just need to be more disciplined at the back and take our chances in front of goal – which I know is a bit of cliché.
“Cardiff are probably the biggest side I’ve played. They had a game plan and stuck to it. We knew that and prepared for it. We definitely nullified them for the first 60 minutes, and I actually think we nullified their actual game plan for the whole game.
“We just fell asleep at the back a little bit for the first goal, and just opened up a little bit for the second.
“Hopefully we can see the mistakes we’ve made, the small margins we can improve on and bring that into the next few games.
“I wouldn’t have said they were overly physical. But in the Championship you’ve got to win your battles, and you’ve got to win your battles to be able to play our style of football. You can’t just show up every week and expect teams will allow us to play.
“You could see Cardiff were playing man-for-man (marking). They didn’t let us play out and we knew that would be the case.
“Every game we have to win our battles but it was probably more the case in this game because we knew the game plan they were bringing in. I think we did that but unfortunately, small margins win games.”
• For the latest Norwich City news and opinion follow Michael Bailey on the following channels…