Connor Southwell: The time for talking is over, now City must prove they’re still up for the fight
PUBLISHED: 09:03 25 February 2020 | UPDATED: 09:03 25 February 2020
It was tangible on the terraces and noticeable on the pitch, City looked desperately disappointed after their defeat at Molineux. Connor Southwell asks whether all is lost in Norfolk - or not.
The disappointment was palpable at the final whistle of Norwich City's 3-0 loss to Wolverhampton Wanderers.
Numerous Canaries players dropped to their haunches after the defeat, the size of the opportunity squandered known to all of a yellow and green persuasion.
The white flags waved more ferociously than ever and the disappointment was etched onto the faces of supporters and players alike.
Given the empirical evidence of this season, any hope of a great escape remains based on wishing.
City haven't displayed the quality over a consistent period to muster enough belief that something miraculous is afoot.
Despite the scale of the task, from a point perspective, not becoming any more significant, it felt like any ounce of belief left was sapped out of everyone at Molineux.
Social media is never a canvas for positivity after a defeat, but it felt particularly downbeat after this latest offering.
With no tangible signs of improvement and a lack of ruthlessness in both boxes preventing the Canaries' progression, in which direction do the powers that be opt to travel in now?
It's been over 500 minutes since City last netted a top-flight goal in open play, the last being Todd Cantwell's strike during the 1-1 home draw with Crystal Palace on New Year's Day. Regardless of division, that is a statistic that drastically needs altering if City are to rediscover their identity at the back end of the season.
Emi Buendia's absence remains conspicuous considering the manner in which Daniel Farke seemed to eulogise and rant about the Argentine in his seven minute monologue on Friday.
The reality remains abundantly clear; he is City's most productive chance creator, someone who does aid the overall efficiency of the Canaries' offensive phases of play.
Lukas Rupp, the man preferred to Buendia of late, does provide more stability and defensive productivity. He's been wrongly scapegoated for blocking Buendia's path to the side when, in reality, the man responsible for that occupies the dugout.
Buendia's problem may be that he is too forward looking, that his subconscious is day-dreaming towards the summer and the bigger picture of City's survival hopes have become secondary.
Such conspiracy theories only surface in periods of adversity, but the edge from City's play has evaporated. Those penetrative passes and meaningful periods of possession have been exchanged for the safety of short exchanges on the ball.
Possessing players who are bereft of confidence in a system that requires it is likely to mean those passages of possession become crippled with self-doubt and insecurity. Technical proficiency is critical but in order to extract that, players require confidence.
Despite enjoying 60 percent of possession, City never really threatened the Wolves goal.
Ponderous and hesitant in possession, they're lacking pace, precision and players willing to take it upon themselves to change the course of a game.
Relegation appears to be somewhat of a certainty now, given the predicament the Canaries find themselves in at present, yet, the general feeling is that the club are heading in the correct direction.
Whether you can be a self-financing club in the Premier League is another debate altogether and will be put to the test should City be able to mount a challenge back to the top-flight at the first time of asking.
In Stuart Webber and Farke they have operators who possess clarity over the plan for the short, medium and long-term future of the club. The project remains intact, if slightly dented.
Patience on the terraces is at a premium. Relegation is never something to be accepted but responding to the challenges it poses is the task that follows.
Whilst the majority of City supporters remain on board with the project, others will point towards the fact that this Canaries side are set to become City's worst in the Premier League based on points return.
In football, everything points towards success. Ultimately, if you're winning consistently, then the flowers in your garden look suitably rosy. The alternative is all too familiar, for all of their pitfalls this season, City aren't rudderless or uncertain in their approach.
Patience will be tested should the performance at Wolves become regular practice and the start of the following campaign follows suit.
It feels like a long time ago they were serenaded after a gutsy performance against Liverpool.
Now it's time for the talking to conclude and the action to begin.