Lappin looks at the positives

Norwich's stand-in left-back Simon Lappin believes Portsmouth's smash-and-grab raid was a backhanded compliment to the Canaries.

City pinned Pompey back inside their own half for long spells prior to the interval at Carrow Road without any tangible reward for their dominance. The south coast visitors responded with a half-time change of formation to stem the flow before two decisive counters inflicted a fourth home league defeat of the season on Paul Lambert's men.

'You know when you have had so many chances and not taken them it can come back to bite you,' he said. 'It has eventually here, but I still think we played some excellent stuff.

'Portsmouth had to change their formation because they couldn't deal with it. We were passing it around them first half and creating chances at will. Teams will come here and try to frustrate us by sitting in and it's up to us to break them down.

'We've managed to do it in more cases than not, but we didn't get the rub of the green. Then we've lost a poor goal and the penalty comes as we are chasing it towards the end. But we've earned the right to be back up here and I think we've shown more than enough already that we can compete, with some of the football we have played.'

City's day was summed up by two identical close range incidents in either half when first Chris Martin then Elliott Ward's goalbound headers struck Portsmouth defenders only to drop behind.

'I think it was frustrating more than disappointing – the fact we had played so well and have nothing to show for it,' said Lappin. 'But it's one of those things and we just have to take the positives from it because I thought we played excellently again, passing the ball and creating numerous chances. Like I say, we didn't get the rub of the green, especially first half – but as long we keep working hard and playing that way we'll be fine.

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'Putting away chances is the name of the game but I don't think we got the little breaks. Chrissy had a header in the first half which hit their boy, who knew nothing about it, and Wardy at the end produces a great header which is going in all day but hits the defender and drops out for a corner. When those things happen you kind of sense it might not be your day.'

Lappin again deputised at full-back in the absence of injured duo Adam Drury and Steven Smith, and the Scot is more than willing to do his bit for the collective cause.

'I'm enjoying playing in the team,' he said. 'I don't care where it is – I'll give 100pc wherever the manager asks me to play. I've said before I'd prefer to play in midfield but you have to enjoy every moment of being in the side and playing every Saturday.

'Whether it's out of position or not I have a job to do. The manager is keen to get the full-backs on in the system we play and to get balls into the box. That showed again with how positive we were right from the first whistle.'

City's injured roll call has been supplemented by suspensions in recent weeks. Skipper Grant Holt missed the weekend reverse and now Leon Barnett will be unavailable for Saturday's away day at Coventry.

The Canaries' pending New Year signing was already set to miss out on a Ricoh return following his fifth booking of the season, before earning a second yellow card for hauling down David Nugent to concede a late penalty.

'Leon has been brilliant for us and will be a miss but I also know we have players here waiting in the wings,' said Lappin. 'You've seen already what he brings to the side and he has been outstanding. He is a defender who puts his body on the line. All the boys know that and the supporters have seen it often enough as well. It's great he is here for the long term.

'Now Leon is suspended we'll see what happens in terms of who comes in but I'm sure whoever the manager picks, they'll do a job. You know that during the course of a season these things are part and parcel but we have a squad of players chomping at the bit.'