‘We let ourselves down’ - No excuses for City defender after defeat to Villa

Ben Gibson of Norwich applauds the fans at the end of the Premier League match at Carrow Road, Norwi

Ben Gibson thanks the Norwich fans after defeat to Aston Villa - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Nine absentees may have created difficulties for Norwich City but defender Ben Gibson insists that is no excuse for the poor display during last night’s 2-0 home defeat to Aston Villa. 

After an initially bright start to life under Dean Smith, the Canaries have now lost three games on the spin and scored just once in five games, to leave them bottom of the Premier League. 

“At times we haven’t had the results but we’ve felt our performances were growing, particularly since the manager has come in,” said Gibson, after there had been positives in the losses to Tottenham and Manchester United. 

“I think every game, every day, has looked better. We’ve looked more of a threat, more resolute. Our performances – apart from tonight – have probably warranted more points than what we’ve actually got. 

“But we let ourselves down. We weren’t at it, we looked lethargic. To a man, we didn’t lay a glove on them, and that’s the frustrating thing. We’ve come off our levels and, to be honest, we didn’t deserve a result. 

“If you give teams with that quality 45 minutes to get going in this league, you’re going to get punished. We gave it a go in the second half, I thought we were much better, much improved, but again we lacked the quality to get that goal and really get us back in the game. 

“But we gave it a go and that’s what we’ve got to do and get back to because the performance first half just wasn’t acceptable.” 

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Gibson returned after a one-game absence with a thigh strain and wore the captain's armband after shoulder ligament damage to Grant Hanley but saw his latest centre-back partner, Ozan Kabak, limp off just before half-time. 

With Lukas Rupp, Pierre Lees-Melou, Josh Sargent and Christos Tzolis ruled out by Covid-19 issues and Mathias Normann, Milot Rashica, Andrew Omobamidele and Christoph Zimmermann out injured, City had to name three untested youngsters among their substitutes. 

“We don’t want to make those excuses,” Gibson continued. “What that should bring is fresh legs, if anything – and we certainly didn’t look fresh. 

“Everyone gets disrupted, all teams are at this stage, we’ve had a lot of injuries, we have had a bit of Covid, but a lot of teams are going to be facing that, there’s no point making excuses. 

“We have to play the hand we’re dealt and all of us, to a man, including myself, on the pitch tonight we didn’t do a good enough job. 

“We’ve let ourselves down, we can’t cry about it now, we’ll analyse why, we change why and make sure at the weekend it’s much better - and we go and shock people and get the result.” 

Villa’s talented young midfielder Jacob Ramsey opened the scoring in the 34th minute after Billy Gilmour was robbed by Douglas Luiz and Kabak was dragged out of position as he fouled Ollie Watkins on halfway, only for advantage to be played as Ramsey charged through. 

Gibson held up the 20-year-old as Max Aarons got himself goal-side but Ramsey cut on to his left foot and lashed a shot past Tim Krul – with Watkins sealing the win in the 87th minute, turning in a classy cross from substitute Carney Chukwuemeka. 

The Norwich players look dejected after conceding their side’s 1st goal during the Premier League ma

The inquest begins after Aston Villa's first goal against the Canaries - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

On the opening goal, Gibson explained: “From what I recall, we lost the ball, they broke, I feel like we could have fouled him whilst he was higher up the pitch. 

“He’s running, neither of me or Max really lay a glove on him, we let him keep coming, we both sort of waited for each other and one of us has got to take charge of that situation. 

“I felt like he was going to hang a leg and bring him down, and then once you let him into the box, it’s difficult. But we’ve got to do much better. 

“Maybe I should take charge, I need to watch it back, maybe I should just step across him and take the yellow card higher up the pitch, maybe Max should, but one of us has to do much better, or both of us.” 

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