There is no doubt that the game against Aston Villa was the biggest disappointment for every Norwich fan in recent history. There was a further kick in the teeth when the news was announced that Wigan had scored a late equaliser to drag the Canaries within three points of the relegation zone.
This has caused many more fans to turn against Chris Hughton and the fear is that survival is no longer in Norwich’s own hands. I know tensions are high right now and anyone speaking out against Hughton has every right, because we know the results simply have not been good enough.
We know that there is no way we should be in this position. But after some disappointing draws at home and some nonexistent performances away from home, it shouldn’t come as a massive surprise. Paul Lambert has really rubbed our noses in it by bringing his team to Carrow Road to demonstrate the predatory instincts that a team can have on the counter attack.
It was also galling that the victory they secured here more or less guaranteed his Villa side another season in the Premier League. But I think we all know deep down that this season was always going to be a very difficult one. Last season we were relatively poor in the second half of the season, and we didn’t invest significantly in the summer.
Things looked pretty bleak at the start of the season, but Hughton’s ideas were starting to come across, and we looked a solid unit. That ten match unbeaten run seems a long time ago now, but it’s important to remember that the squad we have now did achieve it.
What surprises me a little bit is that Hughton hasn’t looked to get the same personnel back in the side to drag us to safety. My one hope for this pivotal game against West Brom is that he does that and leaves nothing to chance; for whatever reason, Alex Tettey and Steven Whittaker have played regularly in this side in recent times.
The experiment with playing Kei Kamara up front on his own for long periods was another puzzling decision for a manager that shouldn’t have been playing such silly games. We have had ample opportunity to sort this situation out in a countless number of games.
However, only one more chance remains, and there’s no room for excuses from the players or the manager. It’s not about the performance, but we must win at all costs. The term must-win is excessively overused, but for once, it sums everything up.
Failure to do so is not certain relegation by any means, but it will mean we are relying on others to get us out of trouble. I’m not being funny, but we have won eight Premier League games this season, and that isn’t really good enough. I have often thought you needed to win ten games to stay up, and we look almost certain to fall short of that.
I’m sure there will be plenty of campaigns for the fans to get behind the players for this one, and I certainly feel that a vocal Carrow Road is what we need. But let’s not pass the buck to the fans on this one, it’s time for the players and manager to deliver. The supporters did their bit against Aston Villa, but it wasn’t good enough from the players.
We are all passionate about the Canaries, and we need the players to show us that this football club means as much to them as it does to us. Hughton needs to send his team out to attack West Brom and get the result that we all need.
He needs to keep this club in the Premier League and show us that he deserves another shot at it next season.
It’s now or never, I want to see all our big players out there and finally delivering a result and performance to save us. The spirit needs to be there, and whatever the summer holds we need our big characters on the pitch. No excuses for John Ruddy to not be involved for this one, the same goes for Grant Holt and whoever else. Come on lads let us see you fight!
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