Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s 3-1 Championship defeat against Fulham
PUBLISHED: 17:57 14 April 2017 | UPDATED: 22:06 14 April 2017
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Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his snap verdict from Carrow Road
1. Thanks for the memories - This set of Norwich players know the end is nigh. Stuart Webber is in the building. A new head coach will arrive shortly after a season that can not end soon enough. That seven goal salvo against Reading swiftly passed into the history books. City were again lacking in the collective intensity and individual responsibility required to mix it with a Fulham outfit who even after Chris Martin’s red card looked far more cohesive, disciplined and organised. The passage of play immediately after the interval said everything about what is wrong with this group of Norwich players. Fulham had suffered that psychological blow seconds before the break but were on the front foot from the restart. Jonny Howson crudely hauled down Floyd Ayite. Then Ryan Bennett, into the fray for the injured Timm Klose, was caught the wrong side of Tomas Kalas to concede a cheap penalty at his far post. Decisive moments. City the wrong side of them. A familiar refrain this season.
2. It can be done - Few now underestimate the size of the task confronting Webber and his anointed head coach. Yet Fulham finished a desperately lowly 20th in the Championship last season. The right appointment in Slavisa Jokanovic was made to lead the revival and the Cottagers now look a proposition to be reckoned with if they can edge out Sheffield Wednesday to sneak into the play-off spots. A team who all know their jobs and carry them out as a collective rather than a disparate group of individuals. It can happen and the turnaround can be swift but it needs a plan and the right personnel in key appointments at the top of the new football model.
3. Alex Tettey. Not a milestone to remember - 150 up is a fine milestone for a combative presence in Norwich’s midfield who has seen most of the highs and lows over the recent years. Tettey, by his own admission, when he spoke to the media on Thursday admitted he has not hit the heights this campaign. He is not alone in Norwich’s squad. But it was another soundbite, delivered almost in passing, that underlined this could be the end for a number of the current roster. Tettey still has a year left on his existing deal but with a new head coach yet to arrive and a sporting director who will look to make his mark, whether the likes of Tettey and his team mates return after the summer is up for debate. But there is no doubting his length of service deserves to be respected.
4. Wes Hoolahan - Setting sentiment to one side, it would be a major shock if the Dubliner was not at the club for what would be a landmark campaign as he brings up a decade at Carrow Road next year. But that is perhaps no longer the issue. Hoolahan remains a gem who was rightly feted again after his brace against Reading brought up a half-century. But Alan Irvine was right to reiterate the 34-year-old can no longer do it week in, week out. The magic dust has to be rationed. His limited influence as Fulham’s well-oiled midfield overran Norwich in that key area of the field underlined the transition is underway. Hoolahan will no longer be the creator-in-chief. Others must assume the mantle.
5. Preston (a). Thanks fixture compilers - Given Norwich’s squad is now marking time, a long Bank Holiday trip to the north-west holds little appeal you suspect for the followers of the Canaries. Nevertheless, expect them to travel in decent numbers. More in hope than expectation but the bare minimum they deserve is a committed performance. Not another surrender from a set of young men who seem to be feeling sorry for themselves far too often.