That Was Criminal From Norwich City
Where do you start with that?
To waste James Maddison`s first half hat-trick and come back to Norfolk empty handed is little short of criminal.
At the KCOM Stadium on Saturday, Norwich City were as defensively poor as they have been all season. There`s been a rally cry to score more goals, now that the defence has been sorted and you`ll have read that on this very site. It has seemed to me that having made Norwich strong at the back, only the balance of scoring more goals needed to be addressed by Daniel Farke.
What happened against Hull though? I have no idea.
In the polar opposite of recent form, the Canaries could`ve been 3 or 4 goals down before they got back in the game through Maddison`s first penalty. His sheer dynamism, skill and ability to change direction in a heartbeat saw him make the second goal on his own and then he coolly dispatched a second spot kick for a 21 minute hat trick. His first ever and the club`s first away from home since Efan Ekoku at Everton in 1994 - he deserved better.
I`ve no doubt that being deprived of the services of Christoph Zimmermann due to illness didn`t help, against a Tigers side that were desperate for points before kick off but the basics seemed to not be there.
Harrison Reed has been a reliable replacement for Ivo Pinto at right back but struggled here against Jackson Irvine and Harry Wilson. The only other time I`ve seen him in trouble at full back was against Ipswich at Carrow Road when Mick McCarthy deliberately targeted him with high balls and put Dominic Iorfa up against him, a physical battle he was never going to win.
I tend to think that things really went south on 29 minutes when Moritz Leitner pulled up with a hamstring injury, it sounds serious and could even end his season. Farke chose to replace Leitner with Pinto and Reed moved to the centre alongside Alex Tettey.
Leitner`s impact on our squad has been immediate and his cultured passing ability and coolness on the ball see him receive the ball regularly. If Alex Tettey wins the ball, he`s looking to give it to Mo, similar to when he plays with Tom Trybull.
He knows that Leitner makes us tick and Reed isn`t as good at it. If this is a semi-serious injury then that will be a big blow to the squad.
Jamal Lewis is still learning and has to be forgiven for the mistake that gave Hull the chance to get back into the game with a penalty and go into the break at only 2-3 down. That gave the home side impetus at a time when heads were dropping and the crowd were turning and Mr Robinson`s inexplicable decision to award a second Hull penalty just after the re-start gave them a real shot in the arm.
I say Jamal Lewis has to be forgiven but he will know the importance of his error. When I say forgiven, I mean from the stands, the fans. Young players mustn`t be castigated for errors and he`s done enough right previously to suggest to me that he has enough stock to see that out.
That second Hull penalty was an absolute joke. I`ve watched it back several times and really can`t understand why it was given. The official Hull City twitter feed said the same thing.
Ridiculous refereeing aside though, the truth here is that despite scoring three goals away from home, Norwich City did not deserve to win this game. The hosts were the better side for long periods and had loads of chances to score through what seemed to be a Canary defence in disarray.
That`s the reason why we lost this game and hopefully, we can get that solidity back in defence soon. It`ll need to be soon because we`re at Barnsley on Tuesday night and that might come a little too soon for Zimmermann. Fingers crossed.
Looking ahead, with ten games to go till the season`s end, I would suggest that we need to put in a strong finish to the season, momentum that we can take forward into the summer and start of next season coupled with another vitally important transfer window.
That will be the club`s third transfer window under the "austerity measures" we now have to work under and hopefully it will see the removal of the last of the high earners such as Naismith, Martin and Jarvis. It could also easily spell the end for Tettey, Hoolahan and Oliveira too.
Relegation is nothing to worry too much about, despite it being a mathematical possibility still, just as we don`t expect a top six place either.
When I look at the table I see Brentford, Bristol City, Preston, Millwall and of course Ipswich Town above us. Don`t get me wrong, I don`t have a sense of entitlement, I more align myself with the Darren Huckerby thought process of "this club should be above them."
We should be above them at this point in the circle of football life, as Mick McCarthy keeps pointing out, due to the money that`s been spent over the last five years. That`s old news though and we have to focus on the here and now and three quarters of the way through this season of "transition" I expected more.
A lot, lot more.
If Daniel Farke knew he had a big job on his hands when he agreed to become the Head Coach of Norwich City then he can be in no doubt of the size of the task going forwards.