Pilkington’s delight is soured by outcome

Anthony Pilkington admitted he was 'devastated' after City's three-game unbeaten run came to a shuddering halt at Villa Park.

The Canaries winger had given City a near-perfect start.

Having tested Villa keeper Shay Given with a first-time shot after some lovely link-up play with Wes Hoolahan, Pilkington went one better on 25 minutes when he curled a glorious free-kick past the Villa wall, and the Republic of Ireland keeper, to give City a deserved lead.

But little went right for Pilkington and Co after that, as Villa came up with a quick response and then grabbed the game by the scruff of the neck, before Steve Morison's late goal cut the deficit to 3-2 and set up what was ultimately a failed cavalry charge.

'I am devastated because we have just been beaten and we need as many points as possible,' said Pilkington. 'We set up today to get a good result here and we haven't got that.

'We got ourselves in front, we started very well like we worked on in training this week, and then they've gone down the other end and they have scored and then we are on the back foot.

'We have come in at half-time and we have talked about it and two minutes later we are 2-1 down. It is disappointing today.

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'We're not happy. We came here to win, we set up every week and we work hard every week to get a good result at the end of the day and today we haven't so we are more than disappointed.'

The performances raised more questions than answers. So what was missing?

'I don't know, maybe we weren't at it,' Pilkington said. 'Individually we didn't play as well as we all could and that's led to a disappointing result – we have two weeks now to work our socks off on the training ground to start putting it right.'

So does the international break come at a good time?

'No – we have just been beaten so we want the next game to come as quickly as possible so the break is not a good time for us because we've been beat today,' he said. 'We want to get back on the road to positive results so it is disappointing that we have got to wait two weeks for the next game, but we are going to have to work hard on the training ground now. But maybe, on the other hand, it's good that we have got two weeks to work on things that we definitely need to do.'

Confusing, perhaps, but there were a couple, of straws to grasp.

'We never give up,' said Pilkington. 'Our team spirit in there is excellent, but we didn't do enough things right today. We didn't individually get things right – we should have been passing the ball a lot better and making better decisions, but we weren't and I think that is why we have been beaten today.

'We always go out there to give our best, but sometimes you don't play like you should. You can see the boys there gave 110pc effort, we never give up and we were fighting to the end.'