Neil Adams - Ricky van Wolfswinkel does not deserve to be a Norwich City scapegoat
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Ricky van Wolfswinkel cut a frustrated figure as he was substituted at Old Trafford but Neil Adams insists it would be wrong to turn Norwich City's club-record signing into a scapegoat.
The Dutch international has scored one Premier League goal in 25 appearances since his arrival from Sporting Lisbon, but Adams opted to start with him in favour of Gary Hooper. The City chief replaced the striker with Johan Elmander just before the hour mark but Adams felt the visitors' fitful attacking play had done little to help van Wolfswinkel's cause.
'I played Ricky because we had identified we could cause United some problems down the sides and in behind those centre backs,' he said. 'We felt Ricky gave us more movement than Gary Hooper, who got the goal against Liverpool. I don't feel we got enough of that.
'I wouldn't single one player out. We live and die as a team and we didn't cause them enough problems.'
Wayne Rooney's brace took his league tally to 17 for the season, with Adams accepting his curled second shortly after the restart proved to be the defining moment.
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'The killer blow was really the second goal,' he said. 'We didn't really learn the lesson from the previous week when (Raheem) Sterling scored from a similar distance. We have to get closer and shut down those type of players; instead he got a shot away and then it is really tough. It is disappointing to let someone of Wayne Rooney's class get a strike in because people like that can hurt you and he is capable of doing that.'
• City academy striker Jamar Loza has returned to the club after scoring one goal in seven loan appearances at League Two promotion hopefuls Southend United.
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Shrimpers' boss Phil Brown confirmed he had tried to extend the frontman's stay with Jacob Murphy still on loan at Roots Hall.
'Jamar made a big impact during his time with us, but he has returned to Norwich who feel he can play a part for their first team between now and the end of the season,' said Brown. 'We would have loved to have kept him here until the end of the season, but I'd like to wish him the very best for the future, and thank him for his efforts during his time with the club.'
The 19-year-old had previous loan stints earlier this season at League One duo Coventry City and Leyton Orient, but was not involved in Saturday's 1-1 draw at Fleetwood which confirmed Southend's play-off place.