Dickson's double agony
DAVID CUFFLEY Dickson Etuhu suffered a double dose of agony as Norwich City's hopes of a first Championship double of the season were extinguished at the Stadium of Light.
Dickson Etuhu suffered a double dose of agony as Norwich City's hopes of a first Championship double of the season were extinguished at the Stadium of Light.
It was a case of pain in the foot and pain in defeat for the midfield giant as the Canaries went down 1-0 to Roy Keane's Sunderland.
Etuhu revealed he needed an injection in a sore foot to help get him through the match, and with team-mate Carl Robinson, playing against his former club, having stitches inserted in a cut under his eye in the second half, it was an uncomfortable afternoon for the midfield men.
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"I had to play with a numb foot. That's why I kept giving the ball away!" said Etuhu, maintaining his sense of humour despite the result.
"I had an injection today to kill the pain because it was just agony, so I thought it might be uncomfortable.
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"So I had to change my game plan and tried to be strong and win the ball and try to give it easy, rather than try to actually create stuff."
Daryl Murphy's winning goal for Sunderland, 15 minutes from time, merely added to City's wounds.
"It hurt so much but it was a great strike," said Etuhu. "Credit to the guy, he turned well and hit the ball right in the bottom corner. Jason Shackell is down about it because he thinks it was his fault, but at the end of the day I think it was a great strike. Some people think he should have got tighter, but we have to move on from it. We've got to learn from it and move on from it.
"We did really well. Everybody worked hard and the boys are a bit down but at the end of the day if we play like that more often away from home, we'll definitely get points.
"We're confident that we can get points and be up there because it's so tight in the table.
"Christmas is very important for us. We need to go and get as any points as we can and just get through those games unbeaten."
Robinson battled on with his injury until 15 minutes from time.
Said manager Peter Grant: "He's got stitches under his eye and losing an important player at an important time wasn't ideal, but that's football."
Etuhu, Robinson and skipper Adam Drury all played despite being doubtful starters the day before the game.
Said Grant: "They hadn't trained. They'd done light jogging on Friday. But they're so desperate to play, I can't fault that.
"Even when we came up they were still with the physio on Friday night, but they declared themselves fit, and as soon as they declared themselves fit I had no doubts about playing them. I think they did it manfully.
"I was delighted with their attitude after their midweek exertions. Their attitude and commitment to try to do the things we asked was excellent.
"To get through after not training properly since Tuesday - I think four of them who actually played in the game - I'm delighted with them."