City boss Peter Grant could not hide his disappointment at the Canaries first defeat of the new season as the ageless Dean Windass helped condemn Norwich to a 2-1 defeat at the KC Stadium.
Grant's mood was not helped by the fact that the Canaries had a point sat in the palm of their hands after Dion Dublin's 67th minute introduction led to Windass' fellow 38-year-old bagging a wonderful leveller four minutes later.
Nor was the City chief overly-impressed with the manner in which Norwich conceded both Tigers' goals. On both occasions, Grant noted, the ball was in the Canaries' hands only for both possession and advantage to be casually tossed away.
Richard Garcia's killer second strike probably raised the manager's blood pressure rather more than Windass' pin-point first as the Tigers' own veteran toyed with new Norwich skipper Jason Shackell down the right-hand edge of the Norwich box before looping the most-inviting of crosses back towards the far post where an unmarked Garcia had all the time and space he ever needed to bag the winner.
“I'd have been disappointed to come away from the game with one point, but to end up throwing the three away… very disappointing,” said Grant, obliged to throw new-boy Ian Murray straight into the fray following a groin injury sustained in training by Adam Drury.
“It's a difficult place to come because of the style of football that they play,” added Grant, as the Tigers' physicial reputation preceeded them. “But I thought we matched them.
“And that's always been a question mark about Norwich – can you match that? And we more than matched that. We created chances in the first-half. And I felt everything else was perfect – for 90-95% of the game we were being competitive.
“And then the goals we lose… I've been critical of the team in th epast for having that soft under-belly, but the only thing I can be critical of today is of those two lapses in concentration.”
Digging out big, ugly points away from home – certainly for as long as the likes of Darren Huckerby and Jimmy Smith remain sidelined – is clearly one of Grant's intentions this season. But that rests on Norwich being competitive – and concentrating from first whistle to last. All too often, that doesn't happen.
That's a large and on-going chink in the club's armour that either needs to be addressed on the training ground or via a cheque book as this summer's transfer window prepares to slam shut next Friday night.
“We're in possession both times,” said a frustrated Grant. “It's a free-kick – to us. We give possession away. They score.
“We're back to 1-1. We get a throw-in, we give possession away and we end up conceding a goal from it. And until you learn to cut that out, you're always going to be under pressure.”
Grant was well aware it was never going to be a game for the purist; 'playing the Norwich way' is something, you sense, he feels the Canaries have to get out of their system; it won't work in the more muscular outposts of the Championship.
“If you thought it was going to be pretty – there's no chance of that being the case here. And I thought we more than matched that.
“I thought we showed a different side to Norwich – and what we have to be over the period of the season. That if people want to mix it, we've got to be able to do that; that if people want to play, we've got to be able to do that.
“So it wasn't a game for the purists in any shape or form – a day for six and ten passes – but a lot of positives,” added Grant, heartened by what he saw as Norwich's growing ability to stand toe-to-toe with the Hulls of this world.
“If people think we're just going to roll over and die, that's never going to be the case. But the biggest disappointment is not having the nous at important times in the game – to give possession away as cheaply as that. When it's a free-kick for… And a throw-in for…
“But you have to be competitive in every game you play – and I couldn't ask anybody to give one ounce more – but it was just a matter of the boys sticking to it. And that concentration level.
“You're always leaving yourself in a battle if you concede silly things; switch off at important times in the game; two lapses in concentration cost us dearly.”
As ever, yesterday's contest came with the traditional late change as Grant explained Drury's sudden and unexpected absence – one that left Murray making his Canary debut at left-back little more than 24 hours after his arrival on a free from Rangers.
After a few wayward passes in the game's opening stages, the 26-year-old settled reasonably well into his defensive role. He will, however, never be a full-back of the Jon Ostemobor kind whose powerful, surging runs deep into enemy territory provided the highlights of the first-half.
He remains the biggest transfer success story, thus far, of a hectic summer.
Murray's swift bedding in process could continue again on Tuesday night if Drury's groin does not recover in time for the Carling Cup trip to Rochdale.
“Training on Thursday,” explained Grant. “He slipped early on, but continued on for an hour after – no problem whatsoever. Finished training. No problems.
“And then he comes in Friday morning feeling very sore. So all of a sudden I had to give Ian (Murray) a start quicker than I would have expected, but I thought he equipped himself well.
“But that's just the way it is at this moment in time – you don't expect injuries, you get them. But in my tenure here, you learn to live with that.”
At least Dublin showed once again that he still has the ability to change games. In fairness, as Norwich finished the game with Dublin, Brown, David Strihavka and Gary Doherty up front, they came close to nicking a late leveller as ball and kitchen sink headed for the Tigers' penalty area.
Has he been tempted to start the veteran Canary striker as Chris Brown's barren run goals-wise – if not roll his sleeves up and work-wise – continues?
“I thought big Brown did exceptionally well again against two, tough characters. I thought he handled himself very well,” said Grant.
“And Dion's got to earn his place like everybody else. Why would I be tempted to start him when the other boys have not let us down? At the end of the day, Cureton has scored four and Brown has been exceptional.
“I'm not going to change it for the sake of changing it – we're not good enough to do that.”