Real 'gap' facing Norwich City is exposed by clinical Fulham
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Harrison Reed has been around these parts long enough to understand what "Mind the Gap" means to a Norwich City fan.
The truth is, Fulham’s second-half goals from Stefan Johansen and Tom Cairney illustrated with clinical precision what the real gap is – and it’s not the mid-table battle with Ipswich Town and a claim to local bragging rights.
Fulham’s run of form - 17 games unbeaten – has probably come too late for automatic promotion, but the play-offs should be nailed on. They, like Norwich, try to play a passing game – sweet on the eye, but with a difference: they can score. City can’t.
City had their chances, but fluffed their lines. Fulham didn’t. Which is why there is a gap of 11 places and 20 points.
“I think it is the hardest thing to do in football, just to put the ball in the back of the net,” said Reed. “We have struggled to do it this year but like we did today, we’ve created chances, we had opportunities to score.
“I don’t know if it is the confidence, or something we are lacking but it is certainly something we need to work on.
“You look at when crosses are coming into the box how many bodies are there in the box? If one man makes a run across the front post and the defender blocks it – like for Cairney’s goal – he slots it in. You need to get bodies in the box, get runners in behind.
“It is something we work no in training and it is something we speak about regularly, to be fair.”
Reed was one of a clutch of players booked in the final throes of the match, as City desperately tried to salvage something – an aggressive stance that had been discussed in the match build-up.
“Before the game it was something we touched on,” he said. “We had to be aggressive and in their faces.
“They like to play football but there is also being careless and ill-disciplined and obviously early in the game you don’t want to be picking up yellow cards here and there because later in the game it becomes difficult.
“It is something we could have looked at – got in their faces a bit more, a few more heavy tackles, just upset their key players and things like that, but I thought we competed very well. They are a good team, the form team in the league and at the moment they are looking like a serious contender for automatic promotion.”