City caretaker boss Ian Butterworth has called on the Canaries to show a ruthless streak after they went down to a 2-1 defeat at Brentford in front of new chief Paul Lambert.
Despite having chances to go into the half-time break in front, with Cody McDonald the main culprit, the home side gave City a mountain to climb through a second-half Ryan Dickson header direct from a throw-in and a David Hunt free-kick.
Welsh international Owain Tudur Jones got one back with a free-kick of his own in stoppage time and a last-gasp Gary Doherty chance could have given Norwich an unlikely point.
But the home side shaded it and Butterworth was left to rue some sloppy defending as well as a lack of conviction in the final third.
And it was yet more disappointment for the long-suffering Canary nation; some 1,800 were cheering on their heroes at Griffin Park.
“It’s disappointing because it was two minutes of concentration at set plays that have let us down,” said the City interim boss.
“In the first half we defended very well and looked solid, and possibly on reflection we should have been 2-0 up.
“But it’s imperative we take our chances at this level. It doesn’t matter whether you are playing Champions League or Sunday League football, you have to be ruthless.
“We’ve got some good footballers but we have to do all those jobs for 90 minutes. We’ve got to be more ruthless with each other and we’ve got to demand a little bit more from each player.”
It wasn’t all doom and gloom though. There were some positives to take from the visit to West London and Butterworth was keen to praise the commitment showed by his players.
To be fair though, you’d be worried if the Canary squad weren’t going all out…especially with Lambert watching on intently from the directors box.
“You like to think they were all trying to impress the new manager. The commitment was good, the work ethic was good and it was disappointing that we’ve got nothing out of it. At half-time we felt we could go on and win the game but it wasn’t to be.
“We just need a little bit of luck to get us on our way; we are nearly there in terms of what we’re doing. But we cannot do it for 90 minutes at the moment.”
One of the questions on supporters’ lips would have been whether the new boss had any say in today’s preparation. Did he pop into the dressing room at half-time? Did he give the players a little pep talk prior to kick-off?
Well according to Bryan Gunn’s former assistant, he went it alone. Lambert’s work starts in earnest tomorrow it seems.
Chief executive David McNally informed Butterworth of the Scot’s arrival as manager this morning but he hadn’t had any contact with the former Celtic captain. And he now faces an anxious wait to see whether he has a future in Norfolk.
After all, Colchester have already claimed that U’s number two Ian Culverhouse and ‘football operations manager’ Gary Karsa are Carrow Road-bound.
“I’ve not been told anything so far,” Butterworth continued. “I was just told to take the team again tonight and that’s what I’ve done. We are meeting the new manager on Thursday and we’ll take it from there.
“He inherits a good squad and the dressing room is solid. The spirit is fine, we just need to iron out these bouts of concentration, get a few wins under our belt and then I’m sure we’ll start climbing the table.”
And as for his pal Gunn? How was he bearing up in the aftermath of a traumatic week ? even by Norwich City’s standards…
“I’ve spoken to him a couple of times since Friday. It obviously hurts when these things happen. But Bryan’s fine. He’s a big boy and I’m sure he’ll come fighting back.
“I’ve been in the game since I was an apprentice at Coventry City at 16-years-old. This is the other side of the fence. That’s life. You have to get on with it. At the end of the day, these things happen.”