This season has been one of contrasts. A good start followed by an indifferent (at best) run of games and some poor form.
Neil Adams is learning on the job. That much is clear. But I’m of the opinion that some of the performances haven’t necessarily culminated in the points they should have done.
Is that Adams fault? Well that’s up to you to decide but I think we’ve been on the end of some rotten luck; post hitting, stunning goalkeeper saves (Sheffield Wednesday away in particular) and some dodgy referee decisions.
I’ve been quite vocal on various social media channels, about Adams’ ability to do his job properly and I’m the first to admit that I tend to overreact to defeats. We’re all guilty of that.
Travelling home from Wigan on Saturday night enabled me to think about things in detail and with the away game in the North West being our 20th league game of the season a sizeable proportion of it has now passed.
I don’t think City have been anywhere near as consistent as they have needed to be – both performance and results wise – and I think this is partly due to the predictability in our play. I’ve lost count of the amount of teams (particularly at home) that have soaked up our sustained pressure and then just hit us on the break.
But Wigan away was different.
I agree with those that say it wasn’t a classic, but Championship football rarely is. A team needs to be able to nick games 1-0 and hold out for points when they’ve been getting battered.
I hate to be one who blames the manager when Norwich lose and give everyone else, apart from the manager, credit when we win but for me Saturday had the knowledge of Mike Phelan stamped all over it. We kept it tight when we needed to, we pressed them all over the park (and that’s something that I feel has been very lacking this season) and kept things simple to edge out a priceless victory.
One of the main criticisms I’ve levelled at Neil is that his naivety has cost us. Promising the fans attacking football doesn’t mean we can’t keep it tight and frustrate the opposition in order to win games; Brighton at home being the most recent example.
It was no surprise to me while I was standing (or sitting just if any stewards are reading this) at the DW Stadium that instead of maintaining our attacking intent we did everything we could to close the game out. A big difference to previous weeks; even Bolton at home should have been comfortable but instead the visitors almost grabbed an equaliser because of our insistence on trying to add gloss to the score line.
But I digress.
This season was not one for an experiment. My view is that Neil should’ve been allowed to go off and cut his teeth at a lower league club to hone his skills before coming back to “his club” with all the skills necessary to do the job.
However if we continue to improve – Saturday was just one game after all – then there is absolutely no reason why I, and others, should not be big enough to put our fears and grievances aside and get behind the management and the team like only the Yellow Army can.
I say this after every single away match I attend but the support at Wigan was brilliant. The fans, as one famous lady once said, consistently play the role of twelfth man and Saturday was no different. Bearing in mind how poor our form has been recently, and it was the first week of an always busy month, to take over a thousand Canary supporters was brilliant.
As long as the team continues to improve and as long as we continue to compete in and around the top six/seven then Adams will make the job his own. And we all want him to succeed.
So it’s Huddersfield at Carrow Road next week and with it comes the probable visit of a Norwich City legend. When ex ‘blue and whites’ come calling they get booed (and often end up scoring against us) but I’m not really sure how to approach the return of the legend. I think a simple cheer in recognition of what Holty did for us will suffice before we watch Norwich collect the three points.