Croft: We need to find killer instinct
DAVID CUFFLEY Lee Croft's first experience of the East Anglian derby was a painful one on two fronts. The 21-year-old winger saw Norwich City's chance of a home victory slip away yet again after they had taken the lead - and then he had to hobble off with a badly swollen shin midway through the second half of yesterday's 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town at Carrow Road.
Lee Croft's first experience of the East Anglian derby was a painful one on two fronts.
The 21-year-old winger saw Norwich City's chance of a home victory slip away yet again after they had taken the lead - and then he had to hobble off with a badly swollen shin midway through the second half of yesterday's 1-1 draw with Ipswich Town at Carrow Road.
For the sixth Coca-Cola Championship home game in a row, the Canaries scored just once. Three times in those six matches they have taken the lead, but failed to go on to win.
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Promotion hopefuls Derby and West Bromwich Albion hit back to claim 2-1 victories, while Ipswich earned a point when ex-City loan defender David Wright cancelled out Dickson Etuhu's early opener, his third goal in five games.
Croft admitted that City had trouble finishing off teams when they were on top.
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He said: “It was a shame we didn't get a few more goals but maybe that is a thing we have to look at - we have to kill teams off rather than leaving it at 1-0 and always being vulnerable to a goal going in and them getting the equaliser.
“It was a fantastic atmosphere, the fans were great. It was just a pity we couldn't get the three points for them.
“It has been a bit of a disappointing season but if they continue supporting us like they have, I hope we can give them something to shout about next year.”
Croft missed the Portman Road derby with an ankle injury and only just made yesterday's encounter after suffering a hip injury at Burnley in midweek.
He said: “It was still sore but I tried to push on with it, but it was a different thing that made me come off in the end.
“I had a bad knock on my shin in the first half, which has swelled up really, really badly, so I'm just going to have to see how that goes.”
Manager Peter Grant also lamented City's lack of killer instinct.
He said: “I am learning one thing - that we don't have the mentality to win games of football when we go in front. We have got to have that mentality. If you are playing exceptionally well it is easy, but when you are not playing as well as you would like, can you grind out results? We don't seem to have that devilment yet.
“So I'm very disappointed because when we go in front we don't seem to have that killer instinct to kill teams off.”
Grant admitted that he may have gambled on too many players who were not fully fit, with half a dozen of yesterday's starting eleven either carrying knocks or lacking match practice.
He said: “Maybe I made some wrong choices in the fact that I played guys that maybe weren't fit enough to play and we never had that zip and that sharpness about us in the second half to kill the game off.
“I think that told in the end when the legs looked to have gone a little bit, especially in the boys who have been struggling through injuries.
“The biggest problem is that none of them have trained. Some of them trained yesterday - but the guys from Tuesday have not done anything so it was very, very difficult to put a teamsheet together in any shape or form. We had to leave it until this morning when we got the call that the boys felt fit enough - the likes of Darren Huckerby's back had eased up over the last couple of days.
“If you don't have a foothold on the game, especially in the second half, you end up running out of legs and I felt that told. Their guys' extra training told in that period and we just never had that sharpness to kill the game off and it probably ended up with Ipswich getting a fair result by getting a draw out of it.”