Iwan slams lack of passion

PUBLISHED: 08:45 30 March 2006 | UPDATED: 09:19 14 September 2010

Iwan Roberts questioned the commitment of certain unnamed Norwich City players after watching them throw away a glorious chance of reigniting their promotion challenge last week.

Iwan Roberts questioned the commitment of certain unnamed Norwich City players after watching them throw away a glorious chance of reigniting their promotion challenge last week.

The Canaries would have moved to within four points of sixth-placed Preston had they won at Burnley on Friday night - but, not for the first this season, they fluffed their lines and slumped to a disappointing defeat as a result.

Roberts was a bitterly disappointed armchair viewer as he watched his former side fade after a bright start to hand the initiative back to their struggling hosts - and was in no mood to mince his words yesterday when asked for his verdict on the latest below-par City performance.

“I thought they were tremendous for the first 15 minutes - but unfortunately they missed a few chances and after that you could see heads dropping,” he said.

“The lack of passion after that really surprised me - it's not what Nigel Worthington and Norwich City are about, really,” he said.

“I don't ever remember seeing that from a Norwich side during my time there. We weren't always the most skilful side in the world - but we always worked our socks off. Hard work - that was often the difference between us winning games and losing them.”

Roberts would have expected more from the Canaries even if the game had been a meaningless end of season fixture. But the fact that they had a little something to play for made their second half failings all the more difficult to watch as far as the former club captain was concerned.

“That was a must-win game and it was very disappointing that the game just seemed to fizzle out when Burnley went ahead,” he said. “If Norwich had won it they would have given themselves half a chance, especially with the sides just above them all dropping points the following day, but unfortunately it was not to be.

“Looking at the some of the players' body language you got the impression they felt the season was over.

“There is no excuse for not giving everything you have got - no excuse at all.”

Preston's 1-0 win over Crewe on Tuesday night surely provided the final nail in City's promotion coffin and Roberts feels the club must now use the final games of a bitterly disappointing campaign to start preparing for next season. He feels Norwich have the right manager in place already, but would clearly like to see a few comings and goings on the transfer front between now and the beginning of August.

“I think it's safe to say Norwich are not going to be going up now,” he said. “You are not going to make up 11 points in six games in this division.

“They have just got to try and finish the season on a high and, after that, I should imagine things will get sorted during the summer, with one or two players going and a few fresh faces coming in. It will be a case of making sure everything is place for a new campaign.

“With the players they had here at the start of the season I would have expected Norwich to have finished in the top two, but for one reason or another it hasn't turned out like that.

“I think some of the signings have let Nigel down. Whether they have got in the comfort zone or not I don't know, but a number of them haven't produced the goods.

“It's come as a massive surprise to me to see them struggling in mid-table - and I can understand the frustrations of the fans. There were high expectations this season - and the club have fallen well sort of them.

“But I am sure Nigel feels it just as much as the fans do, and you don't go from being a good manager to a bad one overnight. I'd say give him every chance to put things right. Get this season out of the way and then sees what happens.

“I am sure Nigel will be determined to bounce back. He's a very strong character and he'll get through it, I'm sure of that.”

Worthington will once again be running the gauntlet of a fans' demonstration before Saturday's game against Leicester - and, as far as the big Welshman is concerned, that is a crying shame.

“Fans have got a right to have their say but I don't agree with demonstrations before games, especially when they take place so close to the dressing rooms,” he said. “Players will be able to hear the chants and it won't help their preparations, that's for sure.

“Having said that I'm sure the supporters will be 100 percent behind the lads once the game starts - and that's the most important thing.”

Roberts believes the game between two of his former clubs will produce a decent spectacle for the paying customers.

“I think it is going to be a close one,” he said. “Norwich were doing well until the defeat at Burnley while Leicester are on a really good run of late.

“Their new manager Rob Kelly has done an excellent job there - he has really turned the club around. I watched them back in January when they won 3-2 at QPR in one of Rob's first games in charge and they haven't looked back since.”

Roberts' exploits for the Canaries are well known in these parts but he also scored 44 goals in 111 games for the Foxes in the mid-90s is delighted that they have moved away from the relegation zone after an extremely poor start to the season under Craig Levein.

“I had two and a half years there and, looking back I should never have left for Wolves,” he said. “We had just got promoted to the Premier League for the second time in my time there - and I fell out with the chairman. He said something he shouldn't have said - and it got back to me. I decided to leave - and as it turned out I cut off my nose off to spite my face.

“I didn't leave in the best of circumstances but I thoroughly enjoyed my time there. I played in one play-off final and helped Leicester get to another one, although I missed that because of injury.

“It was great club to play for - just like Norwich, really.”

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