For City boss Glenn Roeder, it was plain and simple and after today's 2-1 Carrow Road defeat to Blackpool, the Canary chief admitted that his side were simply not good enough against a rapidly improving Seasiders outift.
Simon Grayson's men were lively and dangerous throughout and in fairness, they were one of the better teams to arrive in Norfolk this season.
And boy did they make City pay for some slack first-half defending, in turn, moving themselves into the top half of the Championship table ? ahead of the Canaries on goal difference. But there should be no shame in going down to your first home defeat in 10. In fact, City had not been beaten at Carrow Road since November 6 in a 3-1 defeat to Waford – almost a whopping four months ago.
However, two Stephen McPhee strikes put the Tangerines in the box seat and despite a second-half Jamie Cureton penalty, Roeder's side could not find a way back into the contest.
And the City boss admitted afterwards that his charges were just not at the races on a day where a victory would have put them within four points of the top six.
“It was a disappointing performance, particularly in the first half,” said Roeder. “We improved after half-time but it wasn't enough.
“We were very slow to start. After the past few months we've been quick starters and got to grips with the game quickly but today we didn't. I thought it was the most open we have been as well.
“I was disappointed we didn't create more throughout the 90 minutes. In the first-half I don't think we really tested the goalkeeper at all. It was a mystifying performance, generally speaking.
“Too many players had an off day. But I'm not being over critical of these players. That is the first home game we've lost in 10. We've got to get real here.
“They have come an awful long way and people are starting to forget that. Sometimes, they have to be reminded.
“But when we lost possession today it was too easy to play against us, which isn't something that has happened too much recently. Today, we were opened up much too easily. There has not been a team here who have created as many chances as they did.
“Sometimes it was poor play by us but sometimes it was decent play by Blackpool. Give them credit, don't just look at our lack of performance, look at their performance.
“They actually came here and played very well. I think it sums up this league. There are no certain results in this division and everyone is capable of beating each other.”
To be fair, Roeder is not normally one for publically criticising his players but City full-back Jon Otsemobor was clearly not in the manager's good books after the Seasiders took an early lead.
Gary Taylor-Fletcher's cross, after a David Marshall save, should have been snuffed out at source by the former Liverpool defender, but it fell to McPhee and the rest, as they say, is history.
“One player was caught napping,” Roeder added. He wasn't naming names, but it was quite clear who the guilty party was.
“He was more like Rip Van Winkle I would have thought. You saw it as well as I did, I didn't think he even realised there was anyone behind him. To know if there is anyone behind you, you normally have to look first.”
Roeder also reserved a few words for the referee, who wasn't on top form in the eyes of the Canary faithful. Again, the City boss is not a big referee basher. But, even Blackpool fans would find it hard to admit that Mr R. Shoebridge was one of the better officials in the division.
And he certainly won't be on Roeder's Christmas card list after denying City a clear-cut penalty in the first-half, when Darren Huckerby was felled in the box by Shaun Barker.
The Canaries finally won a spot-kick in the second period, when a foul on Matty Pattison gave Jamie Cureton the chance to level. But, in the end, it proved to be too little, too late.
“The Huckerby decision was nailed on,” blasted the 52-year-old. “We can look at things immediately on ProZone and that was a nailed on penalty.
“I'm not normally one for criticising referees but I think that one pretty much summed him up today. It wasn't just that decision but generally speaking, that decision summed up his performance.
“I thought they were both penalties but the first one was stonewall. On the second one, he was playing a guessing game (on whether the offender Shaun Barker should have been dismissed for the foul on Pattison). Some you get right, some you get wrong.”
There was also one injury scare to cap a bad afternoon at the office but according to Roeder, Mark Fotheringham should be available for City's Tuesday night clash at Watford, despite a clash of heads in the build-up to the Seasiders' second goal.
It turned out to be a premature ending for the Scot, but it would be a major surprise if he wasn't ready and raring for the trip to Hertfordshire.
However, one silver lining proved to be the performance of Pattison in his absence. The South African certainly played a major part in the Canaries' mini second-half revival.
“Fotheringham has a nasty cut on the top of his head. It would have helped if the referee had of stopped the play, but he didn't and you have to live with that. But I wouldn't have thought he'd be a doubt for Tuesday.
“Pattison did well but I need to sit down and look at the game on the video. But at the moment, being an honest person, I don't think there are many positives to take out of the game. We need to bounce back and I think it's a good game on Tuesday to be going to Watford after not playing well at home and losing.
“We'll be playing a team that I think will be automatically promoted and the players know we'll be up against it and we've got to play a lot better.”
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