Norwich City strikers must gamble on chances to get the goals flowing, says Iwan Roberts

Norwich City manager Alex Neil prepares to bring on Cameron Jerome and Dieumerci Mbokani against Man

Norwich City manager Alex Neil prepares to bring on Cameron Jerome and Dieumerci Mbokani against Manchester City. - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It was a great point for the Canaries against Manchester City - the players and Alex Neil can take a lot of heart from their performance.

The lads showed passion, desire, spirit and a togetherness that on another day would have won them three points. However, I think that any of us would have taken a point before the game. What I do know is if they show the same qualities in their next five games I'm convinced they will win a good few points, which would go a long way towards Premier League safety.

One thing that really concerns me is the team's lack of goals since the New Year. In the 12 league games since January, Norwich have failed to score in seven. This has to be addressed and players need to start being ruthless in front of goal. No more excuses - it's time to start hitting the back of the net and not the back of the River End or Barclay Stand.

Centre-forwards are bought for big money and are paid a fortune in wages and there's a reason for that - they win you games. Norwich paid a lot of money for me back in 1997 – £850,000 to be exact - which made me the club's second most expensive player, just behind Jon Newsome.

With a big price tag comes big pressure, but you have to be big enough to handle that pressure. Every forward misses chances - we are all human after all, but you have to keep believing in your ability in front of goal. If you don't there's no point you being out there. You have to keep gambling in the box, anticipating where the ball is going to go.


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Nine times out of 10 the ball won't come to you, but I can guarantee you that if you don't make that run on the 10th time and think 'the ball's never coming to me' that's when the ball will go into the area you should have been.

The forwards have taken a bit of stick over the last few months because of their lack of goals and they have to take that on the chin and get on with things.

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It's something I had to do on a few occasions over my career, especially at Norwich in my first season, but it made me a stronger person and a better player and, yes, there were times I questioned myself and wondered where my next goal was going to come from, but I knew that if I didn't hide and believed in myself and my team-mates believed in me I'd turn the corner sooner rather than later.

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The world's worst kept secret came out when Steve McClaren was finally sacked as Newcastle manager.

Rafa Benitez took charge with a clause in his contract saying he can walk away if the club gets relegated at the end of the season – he must be very confident he can keep the Magpies up!

I've heard players go on about what a good coach McClaren is. However, his record as a manager is far from impressive, so why has he struggled to make the step of being a manager? I think the best managers let the coaches do what they do best and that's to put on sessions on a daily basis that players will enjoy and give their all in every session.

The best managers I've played under you wouldn't see until Friday morning, the day before a game, but then you knew it was down to business of fine tuning everything before the game the next day.

Martin O'Neill came into his own at 1.30pm on a Saturday afternoon or at 6.15pm on a Tuesday or Wednesday night. His man managing skills were his strength. He knew exactly what to say before the game started to get the best out of you.

You wouldn't see much of Martin in the week. He'd leave nearly all the coaching to Steve Walford and John Robertson and that's what made them such a good team. By the time we went out for Friday morning's training session both Steve and John knew that it was now time for Martin to earn his living, and they would let him do just that.

It's now time for this Norwich City team to start winning again as games are running out and draws are not going to be good enough to keep the club in the Premier League.

West Brom tomorrow won't be easy as, once again, Tony Pullis has worked his magic and kept the Baggies in the top division. Love him or hate him, he knows what it takes to avoid relegation. Granted, I couldn't watch West Brom every week, but the football they play (or don't) is effective.

It will be tough at The Hawthorns but maybe with West Brom sitting in 11th on 39 points they might just be thinking of their summer holidays and that might give Norwich a good opportunity to end their run of 11 games without a win.

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