Jonny Howson acknowledges Norwich City’s disappointment at League Cup exit
Norwich City's League Cup hopes were painfully extinguished by their former boss as Paul Lambert enjoyed his Carrow Road return thanks to a customary late show from his new Aston Villa charges.
It was a quarter-final every Canaries fan desperately wanted to win and it started perfectly – but City's first half lead earned by Steve Morison lasted barely two minutes before Brett Holman equalised.
And while both sides, with relatively strong starting selections, had gilt-edged chances to book a place in the last four it was Andreas Weimann's double and a fine Christian Benteke strike that put Chris Hughton's men to the sword in the final 11 minutes.
City's job now will be to ensure the end of their 10-match unbeaten run does not affect their Premier League campaign, with struggling Wigan the visitors to Carrow Road at the weekend.
'We're very disappointed,' said Jonny Howson. 'It was a fairly even game with both teams going at it for a large period of the game and I think it could have swung both ways, so it is disappointing especially to lose here at home.
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'Possibly the score flatters Aston Villa but it doesn't matter too much whether they win by one or win by five.
'It doesn't make any difference, it's all about getting through to the next round and we haven't done that.
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'So we are disappointed. I think we did give it a good go and maybe it was an entertaining game to watch, but we are the disappointed ones and it's now about bouncing back on Saturday.'
Morison and Benteke both had goals disallowed for offside in the second half before, with time running out, Villa went for the jugular and got their rewards.
'If we could maybe have held out a little bit longer when we did take the lead, it would have helped,' added Howson. 'But it wasn't to be.
'We came out in the second half and had a good start, and we had the disallowed goal – but then they had a disallowed goal as well.
'So both teams were going at it and it could have swung either way, but unfortunately for us it went against us on the night.'
It was October 6 when City last lost a competitive match, their Premier League trip to Chelsea.
And while the Canaries still have a nine-game unbeaten run in the top flight to protect on Saturday, Howson readily admitted Hughton's side cannot allow a painful evening to dampen their Premier League enthusiasm.
'It's very important it doesn't carry on and when you get beat you always want to bounce straight back,' said the midfielder.
'And the good thing is we go straight into another game come Saturday. Yes we are disappointed with the results tonight, but it's a case of moving on to the Wigan game now.'