Sticking together is the best way forward for Norwich City following Leeds defeat, according to Graham Dorrans
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
The required reaction never came – but Graham Dorrans remains adamant sticking together is the best way forward for Alex Neil's stalling Canaries.
Norwich City were supposed to put right their previous thrashing at Brighton when Leeds came to down on Saturday – at the very least in terms of performance.
But the Canaries' lacklustre outing led to a third straight Championship defeat and leaves them in danger of slipping out of the top six when the action resumes in a fortnight, following the final international break of the year.
'I thought we worked hard,' offered Dorrans. 'Everyone out there gave 100pc. I don't think anyone gave up. But it just wasn't good enough.
'We're conceding too many goals, we go in at half-time leading again (1-0) and we manage to throw it away, like many times we've done it this season. So everyone in there is disappointed and we're in a fight at the minute.
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'We've let the manager down. We're not performing and we haven't performed for a few weeks now. We've let him down and ourselves down.
'He gave us an opportunity to put things right and it's not worked out for us. We've lost the games and everyone is bitterly disappointed.'
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Disapproving chants came from small sections of the Carrow Road crowd, as Leeds showed why they could well be dark horses for a promotion push this term.
As for City, a day that began with joint majority shareholders Delia Smith and Michael Wynn Jones offering unequivocal support for Alex Neil, ended with serious questions being asked about his future.
'We're behind the manager 100pc, yes,' vowed Dorrans. 'We are a squad and we will all fight together.
'We are as much to blame as the manager. We are the guys out there not getting the results and the performances, so we're all in it together.'
Quizzing the manager and Norwich players before Saturday's game, there was almost a bemused response when broaching the subject of the growing unrest at the club's Championship form, the playing squad's togetherness and the manager's ability to turn things around.
Well if they were genuinely bemused about the feelings before kick-off on Saturday, they could have no excuse by the time seven minutes of injury time was done and a third straight Championship defeat was registered – City's second on the spin at Carrow Road.
The vitriol from some fans directed at the players as they walked off summed up the deep wounds that need healing. The sort that won't be dealt with by one positive result, but by several. That is the reality of where City now find themselves – regardless of how recently the garden looked so much rosier and in truth, regardless of what the current table looks like. After all if it's worth ignoring when things are going well, then the argument cuts both ways.
'I don't know what the problem is,' said Dorrans following Saturday's defeat – and in turn succinctly underlying what the actual problem is.
'Obviously we're not playing well enough, we're not winning games. We went on a run where we'd won seven out of eight, and the last few results have not been good enough.
'But we don't become a bad squad overnight. So we need to get back to what we were doing four or five weeks ago and put it right.'
The issue is, the training ground work done so far to help ease some crucial problems is having almost no effect when it comes to matchday.
City's defensive frailties against Leeds were little improved on seven days earlier, while once again the tempo of possession was pedestrian.
'We've been working on it not just this week, and we've been working on it as a whole team – it's not just the defence we're talking about, it's defending as a whole unit, a whole squad, ' said Dorrans. 'But it's not been good enough. We're conceding too many goals and how we change that, I don't know. We obviously need to work on the training pitch and put it right. Hopefully we can do it.
As for the pressure Alex Neil is now under, Dorrans added: 'It's football. Obviously we've not had the results in the last couple of weeks and the fans aren't happy.
'We have a long two weeks now until the next game but we're in a fight and hopefully we can stick together and come through it.
'I think there's pressure on everyone. We've not been good enough as a whole squad for the last three or four weeks. So it's not just pressure on the manager, it's pressure on us. You can hear the fans are disappointed and rightly so. It's a results business and we've not been getting them.
'So they're quite right to be disappointed, as is the whole squad. We're 100pc behind each other and we'll keep fighting.'