City challenge - to bounce back
Chris Lakey Glenn Roeder banned talk of Norwich's 4-0 capitulation against Leicester last weekend which brought the 13-match unbeaten run crashing to an end.
Glenn Roeder banned talk of Norwich's 4-0 capitulation against Leicester last weekend which brought the 13-match unbeaten run crashing to an end.
It was the heaviest defeat of Roeder's reign, not made any more palatable by the straight red card shown to midfielder Darel Russell and fifth yellows for skipper Mark Fotheringham and striker Dion Dublin - ruling all three out of today's visit of Barnsley.
But Roeder says it's all in the past, describing the response as “brilliant”.
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“We had a chat on Monday and went out and trained and it was as I wanted it to be,” he said. “They were banned from even mentioning the game last week, and just ploughed on as we always have done over this last few months working towards the next game.
“I don't feel as if there have been any bad vibes from last weekend - put it on the shelf, hugely disappointed. It was going to happen at some stage, after being unbeaten for 13 games, and move forward.”
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The challenge for City now is to bounce back, in the same way as they did after the 3-0 loss at Plymouth, the third game of Roeder's reign, in November, after which Coventry came to Carrow Road and were beaten 2-0.
“They are human beings, not machines, and they should not be criticised too much because of last week,” he said.
“It is a long time since Norwich have been on an unbeaten run of 13 matches, and be thankful for that. They have done very well, but they have got to continue and it is my job to ensure I keep my foot on them and keep the accelerator pressed down. We need to bounce back against Barnsley in the manner we did after losing badly at Plymouth.
“We can't sit back and rest. It is relentless. I told them that and I repeated it to them in the week. It is a relentless slog - 46-match programme, we go from one battle to another to the next battle, to the next battle, to the next battle and you hopefully win the war at the end of the season, which is obviously success.”
Selection issues haven't helped Roeder's plans, with confirmation yesterday of Darren Huckerby's involvement answering only one of the three questions.
Spanish right-back Juan Velasco comes into the reckoning after signing a three-month Bosman deal, but isn't likely to start.
“He hasn't played for about seven or eight months in terms of a competitive match,” said Roeder. “We have had plenty of practice matches out there and he is vastly experienced and I don't think it would be a problem when we do play him.
“You could argue that La Liga is the strongest league in the world and he has acquitted himself very well there down the years. I don't think when he plays for Norwich it is going to hold any fears for him.”
Central defender Alex Pearce “has got a chance”, with Roeder clearly itching to give the on-loan Reading teenager his debut, while Michael Spillane will be pushing for a midfield role, with Chris Martin likely to deputise for strikers Ched Evans and Jamie Cureton.
As for Barnsley, they visit Carrow Road a week after their shock FA Cup fifth round victory at Liverpool, which was followed two days later by a draw that gave them a home tie against Chelsea in the quarter-finals - all of which leaves Roeder not sure what to expect from a team City beat 3-1 at Oakwell just six weeks ago.
“I don't know whether it will be after the Lord Mayor's show for them,” he said. “I don't know if it will drive them on to greater things. Who knows? All I know is if we get our performance to the level it should be and has to be we will take our chance on whichever Barnsley turns up.”