‘The away record is really poor. I couldn’t possibly defend it,’ admits Norwich City interim chief Alan Irvine
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Alan Irvine is challenging Norwich City to avoid another dose of Championship travel sickness at Huddersfield.
The Canaries' interim boss admits 11 league defeats on the road this season is indefensible, ahead of Wednesday's latest trip to play-off chasing Huddersfield Town.
'The away record is really poor, absolutely no question about that. I couldn't possibly defend it,' he said, with only the bottom five losing more away games in the second tier this season. 'We should have a better record on the road than we have. We have let ourselves down on too many occasions. I mentioned after (Aston) Villa I was very, very disappointed with some away performances as first team coach. I wasn't disappointed with the Villa performance, the result, yes. We have three more away, all tough, and we need to make sure we do better. The response at Villa, when we went behind, did not look like a team who had lost confidence. Even with 10 men, we played with a back two, putting men forward and throwing on attacking subs. To have 70pc possession, including 15 minutes with 10 men, shows you we controlled large parts of that game.'
Irvine dismisses the notion City's squad is mentally fragile away from the secure confines of Carrow Road.
'Historically it is a very difficult place for teams to come. I remember coming here with other teams and it was very tough,' he said. 'The support is great and the players look forward to playing here. There is a mental side to being a top sportsperson in whatever sport. You cannot be a top sportsperson without that characteristic. We should be tough enough to do better than we have.
'I don't think the lads are necessarily going into games thinking they can't win. Perhaps they don't react well enough in some occasions to the setback of going behind. At Carrow Road we generally go in front first. Teams love the idea of playing us because we are a scalp. At the beginning of the season, us, Newcastle and Villa would have been the three sides other teams are thinking, 'I can't wait until they come to town,' It becomes a factor you must deal with if you are a Norwich player.
'You have to dig in, be resilient and show those kind of qualities. You have to stay in the game at times, however difficult, and come out with the right result.'