Paddy’s Pointers: Five observations from Norwich City’s desperate 3-0 Championship defeat against Birmingham City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Our Norwich City correspondent Paddy Davitt delivers his snap verdict from St Andrew's
1. Faulty false number nine - Steven Naismith got the call with former Birmingham striker Cameron Jerome injured. Naismith has plenty to prove since his arrival from Everton. This only confirmed the widespread doubts amongst many City fans. A fact underlined by the cheers which greeted his departure for Kyle Lafferty. Naismith was hardly helped by those around him but the Scot was unable to offer any focal point to generate sustained pressure on the Blues' backline.
2. Faulty full backs - The debate regarding Robbie Brady and his defensive flaws will rage again after the manner he failed to anticipate Jacques Maghoma's cross or the run of David Davis to head the opening goal. Brady's quality is not in doubt, but his ability to be part of cohesive defensive unit is. Alex Neil may point to the injuries that have robbed him of Martin Olsson's services but Brady's lack of awareness at the far post has been seen too many times previously. Add to that Steven Whittaker's failure to cut out the cross for the opener at source and then a clumsy slip to upend Clayton Donaldson for his penalty and it was an afternoon to forget.
3. Flawed philosophy? - Norwich for the second game running tried to impose their cultured, passing style on opponents who refused to allow them time and space. Alex Neil's squad were hassled, harried and eventually bullied into submission. They earned a point at Portman Road but once David Davis headed Birmingham in front there was only one outcome.
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4. Leadership - The usual bug bear when the Canaries' implode in such graphic fashion. Too much head-shaking from those in the visiting ranks during the first half was a constant theme. With no Russell Martin or John Ruddy on the park there was far too much deference and no visible sign of how to alter the negative flow. Men like Jonny Howson, Wes Hoolahan and Alex Tettey have all been over this terrain before but there was a distinct lack of leadership and nous to react.
5. A fortnight to stew - Alex Neil talked up the benefits of an international break to rest and recuperate and allow the non-international contingent and the injured boys to heal. Now the Scot has a fortnight to seethe and stew over one of the lowest points of his Norwich tenure. Perspective may be in short supply right now, given this is the first setback of the season, but it was the manner of the defeat that will concern.