Norwich City goal drought sucks Canaries towards Premier League exit
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Alex Neil accepts Norwich City's chronic Premier League goalscoring shortage is one of the key factors pushing them to the brink of relegation.
City have failed to score in any of their past four top flight games, since beating Newcastle United 3-2, with only already-doomed Aston Villa and West Brom scoring fewer goals this season in the Premier League.
'It is tough. Against Arsenal we probably had four good opportunities, arguably better ones than Arsenal, but they stick one in the back of the net and (Petr) Cech makes saves or we don't hit the target,' he said. 'How do you give them confidence? I can't put the ball in the net for them. It becomes difficult. All we can do is continue to create as many chances as we can but maybe that bit of quality at the top end of the pitch was lacking.'
Neil has deployed Cameron Jerome at the sharp end for the last two league games against Arsenal and Manchester United but the 29-year-old has failed to score since a memorable 2-1 win at Old Trafford back in December. Jerome also spurned Norwich's best chance against the Red Devils on Saturday when he headed Nathan Redmond's cross at David De Gea.
'You hope he is going to score that,' said Neil. 'You would expect if that ball comes into our box and someone has a free header from that distance you fear the worst. They are the type of opportunities and chances when other teams get them against us they end up in the back of the net. Unfortunately for us we don't seem to finish them.'
Neil brought in the likes of Dieumerci Mbokani and Patrick Bamford on loan this season and his lengthy pursuit of former Everton attacker Steven Naismith paid off in January, but the Scot was again on the bench at the weekend.
'I just felt in the games leading up to that one Steven working off Mbokani as the target man had worked,' said Neil, inset. 'But against the top teams, when you have limited possession, you need an out ball and Cameron's pace has stretched the game for us, certainly against Arsenal, with Wes (Hoolahan) as the link in behind. It is more suited for the game than a reflection on Steven.'
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