Despite yet another early Carling Cup exit for the Canaries last night, boss Paul Lambert declared himself happy with his side's committed showing against a slick Sunderland outfit.
Despite the obvious gulf in class, it wasn't really a 4-1 and in truth, City could have been ahead before the Mackems took the lead through Teemu Tainio.
Simon Whaley, in particular, was guilty of missing a glorious chance when he was one-on-one with Craig Gordon.
But minutes later, Kenwyne Jones played in the Finn after shrugging off Gary Doherty and it was advantage Sunderland.
Steve Bruce's side then proceeded to go into the break three goals to the good through two sublime Andy Reid finishes and with the memory of Colchester (h) still fresh in everyone's mind, there was the obvious worry that the Canaries were going to fold like a pack of cards.
But to be fair to them, they stuck at their task and if it wasn't for a freak own goal � after Reid's corner deflected off Owain Tudur Jones' ankle � Lambert's men would have won the second-half 1-0 through Wes Hoolahan's tap in.
“I thought we started the game well and could have gone ahead early on,” Lambert said afterwards.
“But then with an error at the back, you get punished against a team like that. The pleasing thing was that we didn't wilt in the second half.
“The own goal killed it off but how we kept at it was pleasing. It would have been easy to wilt at 3-0 down but they got a goal back which gave us a bit of a lift.
“OK the own goal then kills the game, but we showed some character second half.”
But despite being happy with the way City kept plugging away, the Scot was left to rue that age old Canary problem at the back.
Even though they won't face this sort of calibre of opposition every week � despite it being a shadow Sunderland side � City's defending still looked suspect.
The Black Cats' extra pace and guile was obvious for all to see but the space they were given was � at times � criminal.
For Reid's first, the Irishman was given the freedom of Norfolk on the left-hand side and even though his chip was a real beauty, it could have been avoided.
City are certainly going to need to tighten it up if they are going to start picking up the points they need to make up ground in League One. That's 13 goals conceded in just three games.
“There were some positives and there were some negatives,” Lambert continued. “I thought we started the game really well and we had a couple of chances to get ahead.
“But we didn't take them, then you make an error at the back and you get punished if you're playing that calibre of opposition.”
Apart from the five goals, the Carrow Road crowd also had some late entertainment with City livewire Cody McDonald having to don the 'keeper's gloves after they had used their three substitutes.
But in all seriousness, it was a nasty incident which brought about that turn of events after Frazier Campbell and Ben Alnwick collided in the box.
It was a collision caused � in the referee's eyes � by a slight Michael Spillane push on the England Under-21 striker, which resulted in a red card for the City youngster.
And while both players will be fine, Lambert did reveal afterwards that Alnwick's face 'was a bit of a mess'.
“He's got quite a nasty gash on his face at the moment; we'll have to see how he is.” All of which could let in last night's substitute Declan Rudd.
At this minute in time, it certainly doesn't look like Michael Theoklitos will be wearing the No 1 shirt any time soon…
“He could well be in [if Alnwick doesn't recover in time]. I've been impressed with Declan since I've been here. He's only young but I'm a big believer that if you're good enough, you're old enough.”
And one thing's for sure, Rudd for Alnwick will not be the only change with the Canaries boss sticking to his chop and change policy.
There were another six changes last night and with the Scot insisting he needed to see everyone in action before deciding who was going to be in it for the long haul, all eyes will be on the team sheet at Hartlepool this weekend.