Canaries too soft at home

Goalkeeper Tony Warner reckons Norwich City have to be more ruthless on home territory after their final Carrow Road appearance of 2006-07 brought only defeat and disappointment.

Goalkeeper Tony Warner reckons Norwich City have to be more ruthless on home territory after their final Carrow Road appearance of 2006-07 brought only defeat and disappointment.

Southampton became the eighth visiting team this season to leave with three points as Leon Best's first-half goal moved them back into the Coca-Cola Championship play-off places.

In the end, City won just 10 of their 23 league games at home, and 32-year-old Warner, on loan from Fulham since early March, regards it as their Achilles heel.

Warner played in the Canaries' final six home games, but they lost three of those six matches and failed to score more than once in any of them.

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He said: “I think it's important to be quite dominant at home. And that's maybe something we haven't done consistently.

“There have been some games where we've been very dominant, the Birmingham game and the Stoke game, for instance, even the Derby game to a certain extent, but they got two late goals and won 2-1.

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“I think at home you have to be very, very dominant then you can be a little bit more reserved away from home and try to nick a few points there if you can.”

The Canaries have averaged one point per match on their travels, with next Sunday's trip to Sheffield Wednesday wrapping up the campaign, but their indifferent home form has been more of a let-down and they gave another near full house little to enthuse about against George Burley's Saints.

“We were poor, really - poor from start to finish,” said Warner. “We just weren't really at the races. We're just playing for our pride at the moment but they obviously had something to play for and I think it showed.

“There were one or two saves to make. Unfortunately, there was one that got through, which is ultimately disappointing. I just thought the whole side, myself included, was not firing on all cylinders. I don't know what the reason for that is.

“I wouldn't put it down to just the forwards. I think that would be a little unfair, but just on today's performance, it was right through the side.”

The one exception from that assessment was veteran Dion Dublin, who collected another man of the match award just a couple of hours after being named runner-up to Darren Huckerby in City's player of the season vote.

Said Warner: “Dion was getting himself out of trouble with some great touches. You can tell he's been in the game a long time. He's played at a very good level and he showed it today.

“He is 38 but some of the things he was doing there were fantastic, just simple stuff but just having the peace of mind to do it and getting himself out of trouble. Very rarely does he get caught. I think you saw how much of a confident player he is, and it's testament to his fitness as well that he's still playing at 38, having to hustle round quick, nippy forwards.”

While Dublin is currently thinking over the offer of a new one-year contract wth City, Warner admits he has no idea what happens when the season - and with it his loan from Fulham - is over.

He said: “It's the same thing, I haven't spoken to anybody. I just don't know.

“I like it here, I've really enjoyed my time but I haven't been spoken to. It's one of those things. The manager could have me in mind, he might have somebody else in mind, so it's unfair to say anything. Who knows? It's a long summer, so let's just see what happens.”

Meanwhile, Warner has kept one eye on Fulham's relegation battle, their plight worsened by a 3-1 defeat at Arsenal yesterday.

He said: “You're always concentrating on your own game. You're looking at your own fixtures, your own training, your day-to-day stuff, so you are slightly detached, I suppose.

“But you always keep an eye on the results of the club you're involved in, because ultimately you could be back there.

“I've been watching Fulham closely for the last month or so and they haven't done anything catastrophic but they've just slowly been drawn in. It's as if it's come round and caught them by surprise a little bit.

“It's all for them to do now but there are three or four teams that would rather be in their position, so when you look at it like that, hopefully they will be able to get themselves out of it, maybe re-stock and continue again next season.”

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