Frustration rather than anger thankfully appeared to be the overriding emotion after City’s home defeat by Sunderland, but seldom can I recall a walk back to the car that was so quiet. The sense of disappointment and anti-climax was festering but for most the ‘early days’ mantra prevailed.
And inside the ground, other than a few strangled boos from some River End malcontents (there are always a few), most were able to keep a lid on their frustration as an afternoon that promised so much ultimately delivered nothing but that gnawing pain in the gut.
Quite rightly ‘patience has been the key word as Project Farke takes shape and it remains as pertinent now as it did at 1:30 yesterday but there’s little worth in pretending there’s any joy to be had in a 3-1 home defeat.
City are still some way off becoming the finished article – we all know that – and the Head Coach has already warned of blips and hiccups en route as he attempts to embed his message into the psyche of his new squad. But those blips and hiccups will bring with them a modicum of pain. That’s football. So too the way its whacks you in the cojones if you start getting a little too ahead of yourself.
To pore over the negatives at this early stage is neither fair or helpful. That the heart of City’s defence failed miserably to cope with the dual threat of Lewis Grabban and James Vaughan was there for all to see – and will form the core of the debrief – but to pass early judgement on Messrs Zimmermann and Franke when the former, in particular, has received plenty of plaudits would be equally knee-jerk.
To have conceded three soft ones when being under such low levels of pressure would be a worry if the season was 270 days old, or even 27, but it’s neither. Its 270 minutes old.
Time, for once, is on our side.
And with QPR just around the corner there’s an early chance to get this one out of the system.
Yet if there was one thing that irked yesterday more than the result it was that Simon Grayson probably departed the fine city content in the knowledge that his comments to the Chronicle were justified.
For those who haven’t seen them, in the pre match chat, when questioned on the route the Norwich board have taken the club Grayson himself careered off down the Ray Wilkins path. And I can only imagine his smug grin after City had dominated possession for the opening 27 minutes only to be undone by a long hoof from his keeper, a flick-on and a finish from Grabban.
And for the Mackems to have then gone on to take the three points will no doubt be perceived as a mini-win for those who preach the gospel according to Wlkins & Brazil.
The chance to ram those ill-chosen words back down Grayson’s throat were sadly missed but, as the man himself admitted post-match, these are indeed early days.
One positive, for me anyway, was that the River End was remarkably patient in the face of some fairly unedifying adversity. There were moans and groans of course – it’d be odd if there were none when you’re losing at home – but generally there appeared an acceptance that a definite style of play is being developed and that patient possession based football is now going to be our thing.
What does need to happen looking ahead is that said possession based football is played with more tempo and zip. I’m all for patient, neat passing and fluidity but when it all happens at a stroll and in front of the opposition’s back-four it just becomes a little bit too easy to defend against. And when the creative spark is not igniting the goal scoring chances are few and fleeting.
But that’s something that’s being worked on and something that will come. And now’s not the time for recriminations or lining up the next scapegoat.
As an occasion it all started brightly but then fell a little flat – as things tend to when you’re 3-1 down – yet it was interesting to hear Harrison Reed comment afterwards that he had ‘a few goosebumps’ as Carrow Road found its voice when the teams emerged. Interesting too that he found inspiration from the ‘great words’ of Russell Martin in the huddle.
The march from Riverside to the ground organised by Barclay End Norwich and our friends at Along Come Norwich did appear to the galvanize fans and it’s clear the impact a buzzing stadium can have on the players. So in that regard let’s hope for more of the same on Wednesday night.
Predictably our friends down the road are getting incredibly excited over the five-point gap they’ve opened up over the course of seven days week and already #mindthegap is being resurrected.
Like we keeping saying… early days.