Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-1 Championship defeat against Sheffield United
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his verdict from Carrow Road
1. Cup runs dry - Norwich went seven games without a win after a spirited but ultimately fruitless League Cup extra-time defeat at Arsenal.
The praise after Chelsea came from all quarters. Rightly so, a display rich in character and endeavour against the odds.
But 10 of those on duty at the Bridge were asked to go again by Daniel Farke. The Blade had five extra days preparation time and it showed in a sluggish first half, where the tone was set.
You can debate the merits of a cup run as long as you like. What is not in doubt is it contributed to a lethargic offering from Norwich. At Championship level, fine margins decide the result.
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2. Second best, second balls - The starkest difference between the sides was the dominance from the visitors in those battles for second balls.
Every aerial challenge and rebound appeared to be collected by a red and white shirt for prolonged spells.
That is normally Alex Tettey's game.
The Norwegian was the one outfield player who had not featured from the start at Stamford Bridge. But with United making the most of an extra man across central areas for the first half, Tettey was simply unable to put out enough fires.
unbeaten The weak back pass that gifted United a winner ended his unbeaten faultless run in the side this season.
Tettey is experienced enough to come back strong at Brentford.
3. Payback - Chris Wilder raced across the pitch to salute the away support at the final whistle.
The reaction from those home fans left in the ground was predictably hostile.
After the fallout from his tetchy rant following the battle of Bramall Lane, you suspect the spiky Blades' boss will enjoy his coach trip north.
One of Wilder's main gripes in the reverse fixture was Norwich's ability to time-waste and disrupt the Blades' efforts to get back on level terms that day.
The visitors, however, showed they were equally adept at running down the clock and working the official.
Not to mention the close attention paid to James Maddison.
Fair play to the Blades. But Daniel Farke is unlikely to trade similar accusations. Therein lies the difference.
4. Miles on the clock, Maddison - Talking of City's starlet, it is no surprise that is gruelling workload will catch up with him on occasion.
This was one of those days.
Maddison's normally reliable radar was off at Carrow Road.
He looked weary, leggy and lacking in inspiration.
There was one free kick tipped over by Simon Moore but for the large part he was a passenger.
When so much of Norwich's best work goes through the young man, it underlines graphically how important it is to keep him beyond this window, to finish the campaign in positive terrain.
5. Striker light - Farke said he would be happy to go with this group for the next week or so, ahead of reinforcements before the end of the transfer window on January 31.
City fans you suspect would beg to differ.
Nelson Oliveira continues to plough a lone furrow.
The goals have dried up and there was precious little threat in open play. Norwich's thin squad now has some glaring areas that need to be addressed.
Sporting director Stuart Webber knows that. Now City's top brass have to deliver to support Farke.
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