Norwich City defender Russell Martin insists confidence remains intact
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Norwich City defender Russell Martin insists confidence is still high in the Canaries’ dressing room despite slipping to their fourth defeat in a row at Upton Park.
After going 10 games unbeaten, City have been brought crashing back down to earth over the festive period. It is the first time for over five years that the Canaries have lost four successive matches in the same season but Martin, who netted a consolation late on to peg West Ham back to 2-1, believes the spirit within the club remains undiminished.
“We knew how tough this schedule was going to be over Christmas – luckily we had a great run before that and it’s up to us to start getting results again.
“We were disappointed in the first half but we can take a lot of positives in the second half. We need to be at that level every week to get results in this league.”
Martin admitted he and his team-mates’ first half display was well short of the level expected of a City team.
“The start has killed the game for us really,” said the former Peterborough man. “In the first half we were nowhere near good enough in terms of the fight we put up and our quality on the ball.
“The (penalty) decision, we feel, was not a great one – but you’ve just got to move on and deal with that and we didn’t do that well enough.
“In the second half you saw more of what we are about. We had a high tempo and a bit of quality on the ball – we were just a little bit braver in the second half really.”
City’s game plan of keeping it tight for the early stages was in tatters as soon as Mark Clattenburg pointed to the spot and Norwich did not react well enough, according to Martin.
“The penalty decision had a massive outlook on things,” he added. “After that we didn’t recover well enough – these things happen in the game.
“The second one came way too soon after that. Our game has been about keeping solid for the first 20 minutes and then waiting for it to open up and breaking teams down.
“It hasn’t happened and we need to react better. We did in the second half and it was much more of a typical Norwich City performance and what we’ve been used to. It’s what our fans have been used to watching.”
City might have had penalties themselves when Reid appeared to handle in the first half shortly after Robert Snodgrass had hit the post with a free-kick. Harry Kane also looked to have been clipped by James Tomkins early in the second period, but Clattenburg was not impressed.
“Harry’s one looked like a penalty from where I was and we were disappointed not to get it,” he said. “Over the course of the season you hope those decisions will even themselves out.
“I think if Snoddy’s free-kick goes in then it would have been a completely different game. We know he’s got that in his locker but it didn’t quite sneak in.”
One small crumb of comfort was Martin’s third goal in two games as he followed up his double against Manchester City with a strike late on. However, it didn’t provide much cheer to the stand-in Norwich skipper.
“They are like buses aren’t they? Obviously it’s nice to score but it doesn’t mean anything really just like the other day,” he said. “I’ll just keep getting in the box and trying to get one.”
City last lost four games on the trot in the same season in October 2007 – Peter Grant’s last match in charge at QPR (0-1) and caretaker Jim Duffy’s three games at the helm at home to Bristol City (1-3) and at Burnley (1-2) and WBA (0-2).