Not for the first time in Part II of his Canary career, City favourite Jamie Cureton was knocking one or two nails firmly on the head.
This time, the word up for discussion began with the letter 'P'. And given Norwich's sorry start to the new season, funnily enough the word in question wasn't 'promotion'. Nor was it even 'play-off'.
It was 'pressure' – of which there will be plenty once the Sky cameras start to roll at 5.20pm tomorrow afternoon as the Canaries play host to bottom-of-the-table Sheffield Wednesday in a game you really wouldn't want to lose. Even at this early stage of the season.
“The more games you lose, the more pressure you put on yourselves – definitely,” said the 32-year-old striker, given precious little opportunity of late to add to his four-goal haul.
Four defeats in the last five league games is City's unenviable record ahead of the Owls clash. They, in turn, of course have only one won game out of seven. The trouble is that their lone victory came in their last outing – that 1-0 win over Hull City.
Norwich's week on the road has yielded the miserable record of three defeats, three red cards, five goals conceded and not a goal scored. Pressure. Both on Saturday and in Tuesday night's home clash with newly-promoted Scunthorpe United.
“We need to be at the top end of the table so we have to win more games and home games now are vital,” admitted Cureton. “We can't afford to lose many more so these two are really important – it's just pleasing that we've put in a half-decent performance at Manchester City and the boys can now go into this game full of confidence and really go for the win.”
That pressure question wouldn't, however, go away.
There was the difference between the pressure you get playing for Colchester United and the pressure you get playing for Norwich City – at Layer Road, there was no expectation on the Us last season as the 32-year-old one-time City youth product gleefully helped himself to the Championship's Golden Boot award en route to his ?800,000-odd return home.
Even this season, with the big departures of both Cureton and Chris Iwelumo fresh in their minds there is little or no expectation among the Us supporters; they'd just like to stay up and move to their new home next summer whilst still a Championship club.
Up the road in Norfolk and the Canaries have long been weighed down with expectations – some realistic, some not. Nine fresh faces over the summer and regular suggestions that the manager is gunning for one or two more have kept that 'bar' of expectation as high as ever.
Thus far, Norwich have got nowhere near jumping over it.
“Man for man, we're probably a better squad than what I played in last year – and that's no disrespects to the boys at Colchester.
“But the thing with us is that we played with no fear,” said Cureton. “We were relaxed and there was no pressure on us.
“Here there's a lot of pressure on you – and sometimes that doesn't help. And players have to learn to cope with that. To just go out and play their normal game and not worry about what goes on around and fans and stuff like that,” said the City striker, well versed in the ways of Carrow Road.
In full cry, it can be a match-winner. But that same atmosphere can be a double-edged sword. The players nervousness and anxieties can swiftly spread to the stands – for better or worse, players and supporters feed off eachother. Raise eachother up to fresh heights or drag eachother down to new lows, it is invariably one or the other. Very rarely a steady ship in between.
“Every time we've played it's been very tense – and we haven't been relaxed. And I think the other night at Man City we had nothing to lose and it showed you that when you are suddenly relaxed as a team, that's how you can perform.
“And we have to transform that now to league games. And if we do that then we've got a much better chance of winning football matches.”
He was, however, the first to admit that City supporters have every right to expect rather more of their Saturday heroes than maybe their counterparts at Layer Road. Norwich supporters have also had that taste of the Premiership; the Us are still happy with their second bite at the Championship.
“Definitely,” he said. “They have every right to be more demanding – it's a club that expects to be at the top end of the table; expects, probably, to be in the Premiership, so you're going to get more demands.
“They pay better wages, they bring in players for bigger fees so they expect then performances to be right on the pitch.
“At Colchester, it's a lower budget and a smaller crowd and they're just happy to be there where here they want to get out of the league so there's different pressures.
“And I said that when I came here – that I'd be under more pressure to do well. And you have to cope with that as footballers – that's what it is all about. You want to be playing for teams like this rather than playing for teams in League Two – and that's why I came here. To give myself the chance of getting out of this division.
“I'm quite happy to deal with it and I'm sure everyone else is, but at times when things aren't quite going right and confidence is low, it does get to you a bit more.”
Particularly after events at Molineux last week; events that the 1-0 defeat at Eastlands in mid-week started to answer. Now Carrow Road has to provide all the comforts of home – in very many senses of the term.
“It'll be nice to be back and, obviously, we know that things have to improve,” said Cureton, as he looked back on a turbulent week on the road.
“It's not been great and obviously Wolves was the down point really; Charlton was OK, really – I thought we held in there and two late penalties cost us; then Manchester City and though we lost, with a younger team I thought we put in a very good performance.
“That was really what everyone was looking for – just some improvement from the Wolves game and I think the manager got that.
“The boys felt happy with what they'd done and now that's given us a bit more confidence going into the Sheffield Wednesday game.”
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