Norwich City’s cup humiliation acts as the Spur for Robert Snodgrass
Robert Snodgrass may have been only a spectator for Norwich City’s FA Cup embarrassment on Saturday, but that did not mean it hurt any less.
The fourth-round defeat to Luton was the first time Snodgrass had not made Chris Hughton’s starting XI since the draw at Aston Villa in October – and the Canaries arguably could have done with the winger’s quality that helped them ease past Peterborough United in the previous round.
Although Snodgrass could only watch, it will come down to him as well as his City team-mates to right the weekend’s Carrow Road wrong tomorrow night. High-flying Tottenham are the visitors, smarting from their own FA Cup exit at Leeds – but you suspect City’s need is greater. Their last league outing remains that hammering 5-0 from Liverpool at Anfield.
“It doesn’t matter who played, you are all hurting,” said Snodgrass. “I went home after the game and you’re really hurting and you don’t want that. No disrespect to Luton but they are in the Conference and we are Premier League, and you have got to show Premier League class.
“It hurts everybody, the backroom staff all the way through. Everyone is feeling that and it just shows you the quality and the standard these boys demand.
“But there is no better way to put it right than with a game and we’re itching for it. We would’ve wanted it to go ahead on Tuesday if it could, because everyone wants to get back to winning ways and it’s a great time to have a midweek game.”
The Tottenham game will also allow Chris Hughton’s squad the chance to make up with the City faithful, after an acrimonious FA Cup defeat.
“Of course you feel for the fans,” added Snodgrass. “It was a full house and I didn’t really expect that, and of course you feel for them because they turned up, paid their money and they expect better.
“We gave Luton the goal and we had one over the line and could’ve got a penalty. I’m not crying it in, but small margins change games – from the manager coming in and having a go at you to finding it could have been a different story.
“They had a game plan and stuck to it well. They took the game to us, pressed and pressed, and good luck to them in the next round.
“Seasons are full of ups and downs, and we will get many twists and turns throughout the season. We are just in that stage of the season – most teams go through it. Reading and Southampton, everybody has been through it.
“I think you need to show character and belief, and it takes that because we have got a great squad of bodies and you need to dig deep at times like this, and hopefully gain a few results and pick ourselves back up.”
In truth, the toxic mix of defeats from Luton and Liverpool have made it a tough time for the Canaries – and that has not been lost on Snodgrass.
“You do feel embarrassed when you get beaten in such a way at Liverpool, especially when you go there and you want to put in a good performance and bounce back to get the win we needed,” he said.
“It’s not as if you go out there as a footballer trying to make mistakes or concede goals. You go out there trying to win the game. On the day Liverpool were just better.
“For Luton, it would be disrespectful for me to sit and speak about the lads that were playing and I won’t do that – but the result wasn’t good enough, we know that.
“We have got two big games coming up (with a trip to QPR on Saturday). We have already beaten Spurs at home (in the League Cup) this season and we ran them close down there at White Hart Lane, so it’s a tough task but I believe we have got the character, strength and depth, the full lot in the squad, so that we can go and do it.”
The Canaries were not the only Premier League team to be surprisingly dumped out of the FA Cup over the weekend, and Snodgrass saw that as due reward for the desire of their lower league opponents.
“I just think you have got these teams that came out and gave every ounce of energy and gave every single thing, which we should be doing as well,” he added. “Nobody predicted Oldham were going to beat Liverpool, Brentford nearly beating Chelsea and Luton beating Norwich. But as soon as you cross that white line, Luton just wanted it more than us on Saturday.
“You find out a lot more about individuals when you lose. We got beaten 5-0 and the manager made a few changes – loads of changes really – and for me watching the Luton game, it was hard. Sometimes as a player you want to try to affect a game and try to help the lads. But it was difficult and whoever plays on Wednesday, they need to be ready.”