With the end of the season fast approaching it seems appropriate that last weekend Norwich City decided to treat their long-suffering fans to a compilation of all the things that have driven us all to distraction over the last eight months or so. 

Inevitably it started with one of those out of the blue performances that drag us back to believing in the impossible again just when we’d come to terms with a wasted season. 

While City were hit with injuries to both centre backs at Ewood Park they dug in and worked their socks off defensively while looking sharp and ruthless on the break against a side who had already twice beaten them convincingly at Carrow Road this season. 

It was in many ways Millwall all over again as the flame of optimism was once again ignited from the dying embers in the hearts of City fans, but once again, just like after the Millwall game, those flames were rapidly doused by a Rotherham team who had clearly learnt the same lesson as most visitors to Carrow Road this season that if they could see out City’s opening salvo they would have little to fear. 

For 15 minutes City looked the real deal as they besieged the Millers’ goal only to be denied by excellent goalkeeping, brave blocks, and a tendency to take one touch too many. 

Even Teemu Pukki wasn’t immune from that indecision as he spurned several chances, the best being when Jacob Sorensen’s excellent long ball turned the defence and left him clear on goal, a situation that would surely have been a formality for Pukki at his peak. 

Even so, the decision to substitute him later on was strange and certainly did nothing to increase City’s goal threat. 

As so often City declined from that impressive start to the laborious and increasingly error strewn build up that we have seen so often this season.  

There is nothing wrong with building from the back, but the key word there is “building” whereas City’s constant passing between the back four and goalkeeper far from beating an opponent’s press actively encourages it. 

It has become so predictable that sides sit off and wait for an opportune moment to pounce, as Rotherham did right at the start of the second half when a dozen lateral passes culminated in Sorensen being robbed and nearly led to a goal that would have been totally self-inflicted. 

However, that should not simply be laid at the door of the back four as the movement in front of them decreased as City’s grip on the game loosened. 

The Pink Un: Sam McCallum battles for possession during City's stalemate against RotherhamSam McCallum battles for possession during City's stalemate against Rotherham (Image: Focus Images)

It’s no coincidence that City have gained 32 points away from Carrow Road and only 29 at home as they have consistently struggled to break sides down but look much more effective when playing on the counter. 

One of the reasons that Emi Buendia is still so badly missed is that the Argentinian was always prepared to take risks to launch attacks whereas now too many City players seem happy to take the safe and easy option.  

Brian Clough always told his players “if there’s space in front of you go into it” but there were occasions on Monday when City midfielders had the chance to do so but chose to play the ball backwards instead. 

There seemed to be a lack of intensity and little willingness from City to vary their approach as the game drifted and the huge reaction when in injury time Angus Gunn finally launched a long kick (which incidentally led to the home side having an attacking position near Rotherham’s corner flag) was an indication of how frustrated the fans were at what they had been watching. 

However, a play-off place is still not out of reach, which is testament to how inconsistent all those vying for one have been. Can the Canaries finally put a run together when it really matters?