Hard-pressed City boss Peter Grant was nothing if not realistic at Colney this morning. He knows he works in a results business.
Right now – for a hundred and one reasons – he's not getting results. And as the Canaries prepare for tomorrow night's home clash with newly-promoted Scunthorpe United so he knows all-too well that he needs a result to ease the sniping from the sidelines.
And from a result flows so much more – not least the kind of winning confidence that his under-performing Norwich outfit so sorely lack. Results are everything. Results.
“I want results – I want to be the manager here,” he said. “I want us to win games; I want to take us up the table; in the top half of the table; I want us to be up there challenging.
“And I'm desperate to do that – absolutely desperate. But, as I say, the only way I can do that is by winning matches. That's what you are paid to do.”
On the back of Saturday's 1-0 home defeat to the league's bottom club, he knows patience on the terraces is wearing thin; in his own mind, he still has every confidence that he has the tools at his disposal to get Norwich far further up the table; the “match-winners” are there; as ever, it's getting the mix, the balance right – particularly in the middle of the pitch. From there chances will flow. Chances have to flow if the Curetons of this world are ever to score a goal.
And nor does he buy into the idea that this game is any bigger than any other. Each and every game is massive. “If I was top of the league, I'd be saying it was a massive result to keep us top of the Championship.
“I want to win the match – that's what I want to do. Nothing else. If that's the thing that gives them the confidence, the little filip to go on and progress – that's what we want to do. And if you say to me: 'Would you take not playing well and winning?' then of course I would.
“But every game in the Championship is massive. If I win this game, the next game is massive; if I lose this game, the next game is massive.” Lose, however, and it does start to get personal. Very personal.
“For me, personally, of course I'd love a fantastic victory,” he admitted, as City find themselves sat very uncomfortably in 21st position. “To win by four or five. But would you see me any different? No, I'd still be concerned about the next game.”
It can't have been easy to hear 'You don't know what you're doing…' ringing out from both the Snakepit and the Barclay as Wade Small buried that 75th minute winner on Saturday. But he is old enough to know that comes with the turf. That's the nature of the managerial beast. It was Peter Grant's Yellow and Green Army when they beat Crystal Palace; it's time for Delia, Delia to sort it out when – three, short weeks later – the Canaries are stumbling to their fourth defeat on the spin.
He was, of course, going right through the same mill with West Ham United this time last year as the Hammers' – floored by that summer injury to Dean Ashton – could not buy a result at the bottom of the Premiership. Ultimately it would cost Alan Pardew his job, by when his right-hand man had arrived in Norfolk to embark on his first managerial post.
It was, however, a learning curve as to just what life can be like to be holed up in a bunker as some serious flak starts to fly. In fairness to Grant, he was a very calm man under mounting pressure this morning. There weren't too many ragged edges to his performance in front of the Press.
“Everyone likes praise; everyone likes a pat on the back,” he said. “But I'm one of them that's never really accepted praise – I just straight away think of the next game. If you've done well, then it's: 'Yeh, whatever…'
“If you've lost a game then it's completely different – you're beating yourself over the head with a baseball bat every night; every waking moment of the day. You're constantly questioning everything that you do.
“And the one thing I know is that we can't work any harder. I don't think Sir Alex Ferguson, I don't think Manchester United, Chelsea put in as much preparation as we do.”
Quizzed as to how he had emerged from Saturday's events in terms of bumps and bruises – the team's; not his – Grant had one, all-too familiar answer.
“Usual,” he said. Which ensured there was more for him to worry about on the injury front. At least 38-year-old Dion Dublin would be returning to the fray in some shape or form following his three match ban.
“Three of the boys won't train today that played on Saturday. Obviously I'm not going to name them because I think it's important that I don't anyone any help,” said the City chief, who went in to this weekend's clash with three doubts over Darren Huckerby (ankle), Adam Drury (back) and Gary Doherty (groin).
Watch the game itself and Graham Kavanagh was living up to his old lag reputation by leaving top-scorer Jamie Cureton hobbling with a nick to the ankle away on the far touchline. So there were four possibilities to start with. Cotton wool was everywhere at Colney as Grant put safety first.
“Three of the boys probably won't train before the game, but hopefully they'll be available. That's the difficulty I have – if I train with them, I know I won't have them. If I don't train with them, I know there's a possibility I will have them. It's one of those scenarios.”
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