‘You can’t say we didn’t take it seriously’ – Roberts blames poor finishing for City’s cup upset at Crawley
Disappointed winger Patrick Roberts insists Norwich City’s second string did not underestimate the chances of a cup upset at Crawley and blames wasteful finishing for the Canaries’ embarrassing League Cup exit.
The Manchester City loanee was one of five debutants as head coach Daniel Farke changed his entire starting XI for the second round tie against League Two opposition.
Crawley took the lead in the 18th minute when Bez Lubala low strike deflected off young striker Adam Idah and past Ralf Fahrmann into the City net and the hosts held out for the win, surviving Roberts hitting the post and substitute Emi Buendia clattering the crossbar.
"I know there's a lot of changes but obviously in a cup game that can happen, giving players a rest, and putting fresh players in can boost momentum," the 22-year-old said.
"Obviously it's not worked but I thought we played really well and that cutting edge at the end just wasn't there. But these things happen, these are tough nights and tough places to comes and you've got to be on top of your game.
"It just wasn't meant to be but you can't say we didn't take it seriously, the boss loves these competitions, obviously he wants to do well.
"He's disappointed, we're disappointed but we've got to pick ourselves up, we can't dwell on it because we've got a massive game at the weekend."
It was the first time the Canaries had lost to lower level opposition in the League Cup since a 1-0 defeat at Shrewsbury in 2014 during Neil Adams' reign, with Roberts alongside Fahrmann, Idah, Ibrahim Amadou and Philip Heise in making their debuts.
"It's tough to take with a cup competition coming to an end so soon, I thought we played quite well but if you don't finish your chances you get punished," Roberts continued.
"Crawley nicked a 1-0 win and we're not through to the next round.
"I think in the final third we lacked a bit of composure in front of goal, which in the league we have had.
"We've not been clinical enough, the boss said to us in training the other day that we need to be ruthless and be greedy to finish, but obviously we weren't.
"We'll look back on that and work, and go again in the league on Saturday."
City head to West Ham in their return to Premier League action, when it seems likely that the team which were beaten 3-2 by Chelsea at Carrow Road on Saturday will return.
Roberts did come close to preventing the embarrassing loss at Crawley though, striking the post in the 36th minute from a tight angle after some trickery in the box and teeing up Buendia for the effort which hit the bar.
"I think an inch to the right and it was going in but it was one of those things, if it's not meant to be, it's not meant to be," he said of his close effort.
"I won't stop doing what I do and I'll get in those positions more and more as this season goes on, well, hopefully - they must go in.
"So I'll keep doing the same thing and hopefully it'll come off."