Michael McGovern pledges Norwich City will sort out their defensive issues

Norwich City keeper Michael McGovern is finally beaten by Preston's Alex Baptiste. Picture by Andy K

Norwich City keeper Michael McGovern is finally beaten by Preston's Alex Baptiste. Picture by Andy Kearns/Focus Images - Credit: Andy Kearns/Focus Images Limited

Michael McGovern has vowed Norwich City will sort out their defensive issues – and ensure their recent Championship stumbles do not become more serious.

Having let another two-goal lead away from home slip through their fingers in midweek, Alex Neil's suffered their first home defeat of the campaign to in-form Preston North End on Saturday.

City haven't kept a clean sheet in the league since the opening three games back in August, with only five teams in the entire division having conceded more goals, as City slipped to fourth.

'It's frustrating but we will get it sorted,' asserted the City goalkeeper. 'We'll work hard on it and when we do get it sorted, we'll be in a good position because there are goals in our team.

'So if we can tighten up defensively, which we'll work on, then we're going to be a formidable force.


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'Football is a game of mistakes and that's how goals are scored. There will obviously be bits we could've done better.'

Watch Saturday's edition of The Pink Un Show Matchday from Carrow Road here

How City go about sorting their defensive frailties will have to be shoehorned into a busy week that includes Tuesday night's EFL Cup fourth round tie at Leeds, ahead of a crunch trip to Chris Hughton's Brighton who now sit second in the Championship standings.

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'I think we've had two clean sheets in 13, which obviously we would have liked to be more,' added McGovern.

'There are probably three other games where we should've had clean sheets and it was just sloppy goals that stopped us putting a better slant on things. But we'll be looking to address that issue in training this week.

'It's about focus and having a pride in keeping a clean sheet. It's about ruthlessness too. Everyone talks about ruthlessness offensively, but I think you need to have that defensively as well.

'And that's something we will look to get going forward.'

It took Alex Neil quite some time to emerge from the dressing room and speak to the media on Saturday.

With some former City managers, that would have prompted speculation over the extent of damage to the tea cups and whether there was any paint left on the walls.

Yet with the current boss, even in the heat of a frustrating defeat that all seemed rather unnecessary. There were measured tones – tones that will still very much require a reaction from his players.

'Frustration and disappointment,' said City goalkeeper Michael McGovern of the manager's full-time message. 'The minimum we should come away with is a goalless draw, and then we give away a sloppy goal from a set-piece.

'There are things we could've done about the goal. I don't know who was picking up, what we were doing zonally or man for man. I'd need to look at it again.

'It's so difficult. I'm trying to organise the wall and everything so it's hard to say what. It all happened so quickly, but I will make sure I look at it back at Colney.

'There was frustration and disappointment in the dressing room, but we've all been there before. We've all lost games, everyone has.

'It's how we react now that's the most important thing.'

The game did at least leave one of the easiest man-of-the-match decisions in recent memory, as McGovern intercepted several Preston chances before they broke the deadlock.

'My own performance is no consolation, not really,' said McGovern. 'I just want the team to win.

'The most important thing for this team is to get promotion this season. That's our only focus and whoever plays well or doesn't play well, it doesn't matter, as long as we get promotion this season.

'Of course I want those saves to count and I'm confident they will count. We do need to tighten up defensively. We need to work at that.

'So it's really disappointing for this one but we're still in a position now where we can build again.

'We've had a really good month in between the last two international breaks and hopefully we can put this result and the mistakes we've made to bed, and go on another winning run. That's our aim.'

The irony of City failing to look like their usually potent selves in front of goal was as much to blame for their defeat as the Canaries' latest defensive concession.

McGovern added: 'It was just one of those games going forward. There aren't many games we haven't scored in this season.

'Sheffield Wednesday here springs to mind, and the game at Birmingham. But there aren't that many where that has happened this season and in this one we've hit the post, the keeper made a few good saves. Sometimes it just happens like that. But it's disappointing from the defensive side of things to concede, on a set piece especially.'

• Follow Michael Bailey on Twitter @michaeljbailey and Facebook @mbjourno

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