Paddy Davitt verdict: Forget sympathy. The answers lie deep within for depleted Canaries
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City surely realise by now the Premier League is not all prestige and pomp. It is a brutal finishing school.
There was an unwanted symmetry to a third consecutive 2-0 top flight away defeat that is lost on no-one. Parted from the secure surroundings of Carrow Road City have simply not been good enough in either penalty box.
A chronic, debilitating injury crisis that lurched towards the ridiculous at Selhurst Park is mitigation but it cannot be an excuse.
Daniel Farke's room for manoeuvre contracts not even by the match but seemingly the minute at present. Not one but two Premier League debuts in the space of 25 minutes for Ralf Fahrmann and Michael McGovern.
Plus another worrying few days to assess the extent of the elbow injury to Jamal Lewis following an awkward tumble in the second half.
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Farke is currently denied any real chance to construct a settled line up or tinker with a change of formation.
The clamour to move Ibrahim Amadou into a defensive midfield berth grows after another shift at centre back that did little to alter the conviction he could be better served further forward.
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That magnificently resolute display against Manchester City will serve as a lasting tribute but like the rest of those in green and yellow who engineered a landmark victory that page has been turned.
What we have seen at both Burnley and now Crystal Palace is a player trying to harness his natural athletic instincts in a dangerous part of the pitch which, as it did in the first half, led to a needless penalty concession.
James McArthur required no encouragement to accept the invitation from Amadou's desperate lunging attempt to clear his lines. Ben Godfrey's reaction stationed in the vicinity once the referee had pointed to the spot told you all you needed to know.
At a stage of the game when Norwich had established a foothold, in marked contrast to the carnage against the Clarets, it was another painful reminder of the unforgiving environment they now inhabit.
But Amadou is no scapegoat. Thereafter City constructed a prolonged spell of controlled, counter-attacking thrust prior to the interval that should have brought parity.
There was a series of promising forays and bursts down the flanks or in behind using the cunning and guile of Teemu Pukki. But the final pass, the final shot, the final thought lacked any conviction or clinical edge.
That was just as troubling as a defensive lapse.
Whether it is a lack of self-belief, maybe even a sub-conscious signal there are still one or two in Farke's ranks yet to be convinced they belong in the Premier League, is impossible to answer. But the end product is not good enough away from Norfolk.
Pukki's consolation strike at Anfield is the only time Norwich have troubled the scorer in four away league tests so far.
We will leave a League Cup exit at Crawley firmly to the side, given that was arguably the one time this season when Farke was able to dip into his resources to share the load.
Only the delusional failed to anticipate these testing winless runs this season.
That it has come so early and wrapped around a quite brilliantly unexpected victory over Pep Guardiola's boys illustrates the scale of Norwich's injury woes and the quality of their opponents.
No-one beyond Norfolk will display any sympathy towards the Canaries and a chronic casualty list. Neither should they.
Farke, as always, sought to find the right words after watching another performance that was not without merit in many facets. City have to stick together and keep believing the path they are on is the right one.
But there was also an implicit acknowledgement a tipping point has been reached.
Until some of his key personnel are fit and available beyond the upcoming international break the degree of difficulty and the task of accumulating Premier League points remains devilishly difficult.
A welcome return to home comforts this weekend and a duel against a newly-promoted rival similarly struggling to harness the same productivity now beckons.
Aston Villa's visit to Carrow Road assumes greater significance given Norwich have failed on their travels to build on a stirring epic against the champions.
If you close your eyes and strain your ears you might just still feel the tremors from what transpired in their 'living room' last time out.
Time for City's fans and players to serve up a repeat on Saturday.