Robin Sainty: Canaries need to ensure lessons are learned – again

Ben Godfrey, left, and Jamal Lewis look dejected after conceding a second goal at Turf Moor 
Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Ben Godfrey, left, and Jamal Lewis look dejected after conceding a second goal at Turf Moor Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Paul Chesterton

The Premier League is utterly unforgiving and if you’re not at the races from the very start of a game you’re going to struggle. It’s a hard but important lesson that City need to learn.

Ibrahim Amadou is penalised after bringing down Chris Wood Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images LtdIbrahim Amadou is penalised after bringing down Chris Wood Picture: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

It really was a case of after the Lord Mayor's show at Turf Moor as the Canaries were blown away in the opening 20 minutes by a Burnley onslaught that was as unsubtle as it was effective.

There were no pretty patterns but lots of desire and a willingness to get the ball into the box at every opportunity. It was direct, but it worked perfectly, and City had no answer to it. It was like watching a supermodel wrestling a navvy.

I've read some less than complimentary remarks about Burnley's style, but in fairness I thought they executed their game plan well and never really gave City a sniff of getting back into the game. They have made themselves into a solid Premier League club without spending huge amounts and while their style is as far divorced from City's as it is possible to be, they deserve respect for that.

City did nothing to help themselves with a sloppy display of passing which consistently put themselves under pressure. Within the first minute Ben Godfrey's lazy infield ball had instigated a sustained period of Burnley pressure leading up to their opener while Ibrahim Amadou's aimless pass would result directly in the home team's second.

It's harsh to be too critical of Amadou, who endured a torrid afternoon and might well have seen a second yellow from a less charitable referee, but he is a midfielder playing out of position and I was a little surprised, given Burnley's physical style, that Grant Hanley wasn't reintroduced to allow him to move back to his normal position.

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More worrying was the sight of Chris Wood leaving Godfrey trailing in his wake as he lashed in the second at the near post. For all Godfrey's huge promise and great athleticism, he needs to improve on his ability to track movement close to goal, having lost Sebastien Haller at West Ham and Sergio Aguero against Manchester City in similar fashion.

It's all part of the learning curve for a young player and it's a problem that he will resolve, but at present it's made more acute by the absence of an experienced partner.

The other area of concern was the similarity between Saturday's game and that at the London Stadium as in both cases City were outmuscled and left looking rather lightweight as their flair players struggled to make an impact on the game.

Emi Buendia, having been virtually unplayable against Manchester City, cut a particularly frustrated figure, but at least managed to control his temperament, although the savage kick at the air after Sam Byram had failed to spot his run into the box late on spoke eloquently of the way in which he was simmering inside.

However, whilst it was a disappointing performance, it's important to be realistic. Despite the previous week's showing against Manchester City we have to remember that the Canaries have had more than their fair share of injuries, yet after six games, including two against European title holders and one against the League champions they have six points.

I also think that some expectations have been set too high. West Ham are potentially a top-six side and Burnley are solid at home and very comfortable with their style of play, so to see those games as ones that City 'should' win is rather fanciful.

That said, Daniel Farke will know better than any of us that there are weaknesses that need to be addressed and I have absolute faith that he will resolve them. Of course, better news on the injury front would help, but this group have always shown a capacity to learn fast and it must continue to do so.

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