Steven Whittaker left with few excuses as 'prepared' Norwich City come unstuck once again, as the Championship going gets tough at Burton Albion
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There were no shocks or surprises for Norwich City to deal with at Burton - and sadly not many in the end result either.
Steven Whittaker was among those lamenting the Canaries’ latest case of not delivering the Championship goods, as struggling Albion battled their way to a third win in five games.
But for City, the damage was significant as they slipped seven points behind the top six – and with their nearest and dearest next in the firing line, as the East Anglian derby returns to Carrow Road on Sunday.
“It was a scrap but it wasn’t any surprise it was going to be like that,” said Whittaker. “We do our homework. The manager states what type of game it’s going to be and we get it spot on every week.
“So the players can’t use that as an excuse. We know what’s coming our way and we need to adapt to it better than what we’re doing.”
While City worked so hard to take a point off title-chasing Newcastle United in midweek, a first defeat in seven from their first visit to Pirelli Stadium prompted more questions over whether Alex Neil’s men can get themselves up for the more mundane tasks the Championship throws up.
Whittaker said: “Look, the Championship is a tough league. You come up against different types of opposition and you need to find a level of consistency throughout the season to keep pushing up towards the top of the table, and we’ve not been consistent enough.
“Like you say, we can play really well one week and destroy a team. And then the next game – especially these scrappy games – we seem to find the rub of the green is going against us a little bit, not through lack of effort I would say. We’re all there wanting to take the three points. But like this, it just wasn’t meant to be.”
Norwich never fully recovered from slipping behind in the first half, as Cauley Woodrow scored an opening goal that owed much of its work to Timm Klose’s needless by-line concession.
“Timm came in and apologised but we all make mistakes and we’re all capable of doing that,” added Whittaker.
“Sometimes they get punished, sometimes they don’t. They were able to punish us.
“We came here on a good run and we wanted to continue that but things just never worked out for us and we’re bitterly disappointed.”