'Dejected' City look shot-shy

Teemu Pukki has scored five of Norwich City's eight Premier League goals

Teemu Pukki has scored five of Norwich City's eight Premier League goals - Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd

Norwich City look ‘dejected’ in front of goal for Dean Smith. 

The Canaries have not scored a Premier League goal in more than 370 minutes of action ahead of Tuesday’s trip to Crystal Palace. 

City have fired blanks in their last four games, and were pummelled 5-0 by Arsenal on Boxing Day. 

Teemu Pukki has five of the club’s paltry eight-goal league tally, but only had one clear chance against the Gunners, when he was denied by Aaron Ramsdale and Rob Holding. 

Smith knows arresting that decline is key to any hopes of a genuine survival bid in the second half of the top flight season. 

“We look dejected in front of goal at the minute,” he said. “Teemu had a chance that dropped to him and he would normally take that but it can happen in these moments. The first two defeats at Tottenham and Manchester United, I can accept them all day long.

"It was good performances where we restricted the opposition, in terms of the amount of big chances they had, and we created big chances of our own in both games. We have done neither in these last two games and that is what we have to get right again.

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"We have to be a team who are hard to play through, hard to beat, but we create quality chances. You won’t get shots on goal if you give a team like Arsenal the ball back. With the exception of Manchester City they are one of the best in the league at keeping the ball.” 

Smith offered no excuses for the scale of City's 5-0 rout against Arsenal, but did not hold back prior to that game in labelling the festive demands on players and clubs 'lunacy', given the current impact of Covid across the game and society in general.

Smith counts himself as a football traditionalist but a trip to Crystal Palace should not be on the agenda just 48 hours after the Gunners' visit. 

“I think we should be playing games but there has to be more rest time in between the matches,” he said. “I am all for the tradition of the festive period. I enjoy it. I always have enjoyed it, but tradition hasn’t had to deal with something like Covid for the previous 120 years.  

“This is a unique situation that we are all having to deal with at the moment, so to expect elite footballers to put their bodies through the levels required for 90 minutes in each game and recover and get ready to go again in 48 hours is lunacy.”

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