Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 2-1 Championship defeat against Burton Albion
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his snap verdict from the Pirelli Stadium
1. Home truths - Norwich City might be able to turn it on at Carrow Road. But away from home has been nothing short of disaster this season. Defeats at Rotherham and now Burton in 2017, two sides in the bottom four, plus the carnage at QPR, Barnsley and Reading during that downward festive spell and it is no great surprise those play-off hopes look all but over. Burton again dragged Norwich into a contest they seemingly do not have the players to cope with. High punts into the corners and fighting for second balls; a simple, earthy, uncomplicated enough philosophy that City do not have the answer to. Four away league wins this season. The poorest total of any of the current top 12. Say no more.
2. Timm Klose. A week to forget - The big Swiss international had emerged as something of a cult figure in his 13-months at Carrow Road. Partly due to his pedigree and perhaps his unique take on life, expressed daily on social media. But Klose may be advised to steer well clear of any public forums for the next few days. Newcastle's first goal in midweek was partly due to the defender's inability to sense danger. Burton's opener here was solely down to his failure to shepherd a ball over his own byline. The look skywards from his manager in the immediate aftermath said it all.
3. Excuses, excuses - Few would dispute Norwich's lengthy injury list has limited Alex Neil's room to handle a gruelling Championship fixture list. Neil refused to offer that as an excuse. But there will still be those who question the fitness levels and the work done by the manager and his backroom staff at Colney to equip his squad to handle the rigours and the stresses of second tier football. Jon McLaughlin was barely pressed into service in the second-half at the Pirelli. That is not meant as an indictment on the attitude of Neil's players but their inability to raise collective physical levels will again be a charge levelled after this latest defeat.
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4. Salt into the wounds - Burton's choice of music over the stadium PA at the end was the final insult. Norwich's dejected players trooped down the tunnel to the strains of David Bowie's 'Heroes'. Nigel Clough's battlers deserved such acclaim but the backdrop from sections of the away end was boos and more mocking chants. It felt like Reading and Huddersfield all over again.
5. Derby crunch - Alex Neil said it himself after the game. This will take a few days to get out of the system but if Norwich fail to match the intensity and the physicality of their bitter rivals at Carrow Road a week on Sunday then the Canaries know what the outcome will be. City have a free week to rest aching limbs and get some of their injured men back on duty. They will need every minute on the evidence of this lacklustre outing.