Norwich City midfielder Darel Russell believes the club have “lost the right man for the job” in Peter Grant and feels the players have let the Scot down.
While the board are busy drawing up the criteria for Grant's successor at Carrow Road, Russell expressed his disappointment at the timing of the departure and believes results would have improved given enough time. Unfortunately, after several toothless performances from the Canaries, time was a commodity Grant just could not afford and the former West Ham assistant manager decided to call it a day in agreement with the City board.
“I'm disappointed because I feel it is a job that's unfinished on his part,” said Russell. “You can obviously change management, but I don't think that by bringing someone else in, there is more that they can do than what he did for us in terms of game preparation.
“I feel he was the right man for the job but obviously things didn't go right for him. We've had a bad run of results but I think he would have got the formula right.”
Trying to bed in seven new players over the summer was always going to be a massive task for Grant and it was one that ultimately proved beyond him. Looking through the City squad there are elements that are capable of coping with a Championship campaign, but Russell feels that Grant did not give himself enough time to put square pegs in square holes.
“It's trying to get the right formula. When I was at Stoke we had lots of new players coming in all the time and you have these big fluctuations in results, which don't go well for you then it does go well for you ? it's a rollercoaster. Over the last couple of weeks Peter was trying to get the right formula and I think it would have come right in the end.”
Performances against the likes of Wolves and QPR on Monday saw many supporters speculate that the players no longer wanted to play under Grant. However, Russell was quick to refute this suggestion and, as one of Grant's higher profile acquisitions, feels partly responsible for his exit.
“I just think that on the pitch on matchdays we just had too many players under-performing on too many occasions and we need to have a look at ourselves rather than the manager,” said Russell. “He prepared us the best he possibly could do for each game. I've worked under different managers and there's not many managers that will prepare you as well as he has done in such detail for a match situation.
“We haven't put what we've been taught into practice and it's been disappointing on that front and that's what's caused bad results. A few of our players need to look at ourselves and I think we're as much to blame.”
Ultimately, it was the midfield balance that proved Grant's downfall with the 42-year-old unable to find the right combination to offer City any threat going forward. Russell was brought in by Grant as a replacement for Dickson Etuhu, who moved to Sunderland in a ?1.5m deal but by his own admission, the former Stoke midfielder has yet to hit top form in his second stint at City and revealed that he feels partly responsible for Grant's exit.
“I feel like I have let him down because he has brought me in and I've played in the majority of the games but the results have not gone right,” added the 26-year-old. “I don't think I've been firing on all cylinders myself and I feel partly to blame for the situation. I need to look at myself as well and so should other players.”
Russell paid tribute to Grant's professionalism and believes nobody could have worked any harder to turn things around at Carrow Road. One accusation you could never throw at Grant is that he did not give 100 per cent in his time at City although in football you do not always get what you deserve.
But you got the feeling that, with all Grant's histrionics on the touchline during matches, he did not fully trust his players and often spoke of how the players were not doing what they were told out on the pitch.
“He is an ultimate professional and did everything right,” said Russell. “He would be here very early in the morning and stay on late into the evening. It was disappointing for him to see it not being emulated on the pitch. The only other thing he could have done perhaps is done less with us. That's how much he did. It sounds crazy to say they should come in and do less but I can't envisage anyone coming in and being any more detailed than he was.”
With ten games gone so far this season, the Canaries find themselves in the midst of a relegation battle and Russell said it is this predicament that the players must turn their attentions to when they face Bristol City a week on Saturday at Carrow Road.
“I think we need to get ourselves into the right frame of mind because our position in the league is not very favourable. The squad we have is much better than our current league position shows. At this minute in time we need to get things right for ourselves as players. I think that's where the problem lies. We need to get everyone performing at 100 per cent – I don't think we have performed at 100 per cent yet and we need to get ourselves going and moving forward again.”