Grant 'gutted' after Sunderland defeat

PUBLISHED: 07:00 04 December 2006 | UPDATED: 09:53 14 September 2010

Peter Grant insists Norwich City are still play-off bound, despite leaving the Stadium of Light “gutted” at Sunderland's revenge win on Saturday.

By CHRIS LAKEY

Peter Grant insists Norwich City are still play-off bound, despite leaving the Stadium of Light “gutted” at Sunderland's revenge win on Saturday.

The Canaries' 1-0 defeat drops them back below the midway precipice in the Championship table, but in a division where no one team is grabbing the bull by the horns, they still find themselves just six points of the top six.

But Grant insists City - and fellow rookie manager Roy Keane's Sunderland - will be up there in the final shake-up once he gets to grips with the January transfer market.

“There is no doubt of that,” he said. “I think come the end of the season the two of us will be up there, there is no doubt in my mind about that. Both of us will try to add to our squad - obviously Sunderland will probably have a bit more money than I will.”

Grant was clearly upset at the manner of his patched-up team's defeat on Saturday, insisting they deserved better.

“I think they would be delighted to get away with three points, absolutely delighted,” he said. “It is a big blow for us, there is no doubt about that, because when you play like that you expect to get something from the game.

“I don't think they deserved them, that's my personal opinion, I thought we showed a disciplined performance. Coming to Sunderland that's probably the quietest I have heard this place, as a player, as a coach that's the quietest I have heard it and that's a great credit to our players.

“We never created a lot of chances, but I thought we were very, very disciplined in our performance and to say I am gutted at losing three points - I'd have been gutted to come away dropping two.”

Ex-City keeper Darren Ward was rarely troubled in the Sunderland goal, but Grant, who had to leave striker Peter Thorne on the bench because of fitness problems, bristled at suggestions that he had fielded a defensive formation.

“You look at our team and the way we played today - you have to get this out of your heads about systems,” he said. “That's why I pick the team.

“I think the team I had out today showed you how frustrating it was for them. We have a small squad, you can see that with the bench we had, but we still had the players on the pitch. I am laughing when people say you play 4-5-1. With Darren Huckerby in your team? You must be joking. With Robert Earnshaw in your team.

“I think it's about time you opened your eyes and realised what we are trying to do here. Playing away at Sunderland it is a game where if you are disciplined you win and I am very disappointed not to win the game. But fair play to Sunderland, they kept going. I don't think (Lee) Camp had a save to make, and I don't think many teams will come here and say that.

“I know they will say the opposite, but if there was one team which looked more nervous than us it was them.

“Yes, we lacked a little bit of quality at times, there is no doubt about that. Our final pass - if we'd taken care of that, even simple passes at times and simple throw-ins, we rushed and that's just an eagerness to do well. We have got to get better at that.

“It was a difficult one, I'm real disappointed for the players because they put so much into the game. I know Roy will be absolutely delighted to get three points and probably it's payback time for the game at Norwich because I thought they were the better side at Norwich, but I thought we were the better side today.”

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