Hunter attacks critics

CHRIS LAKEY Martin Hunter has hit out at the critics who believe Norwich City's players let Nigel Worthington down in his hour of need.


Martin Hunter has hit out at the critics who believe Norwich City's players let Nigel Worthington down in his hour of need.

A 4-1 defeat at the hands of Burnley was the final straw for City's directors, who sacked Worthington within two and a half hours of the whistle.

Many pointed the finger at the players, saying they had failed to deliver when the club, the team, the manager and the fans needed it most, but caretaker boss Hunter was having none of that today.

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“I totally disagree with that comment for a start,” he said. “I will make that comment publicly.

“I have got images of both Carl Robinson and Earnie running 70 yards back to get a ball. I have that firmly in my brain. It was a difficult situation, but that has gone now.”

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Worthington's dismissal came at the end of a five-game run in which City won just one point, conceding a staggering 14 goals in the process.

But just nine weeks and six Championship games ago, City were thumping Barnsley 5-1 at Carrow Road and everything seemed rosy in the Norwich City garden.

So what happened between August 26 and September 30?

“You have spells like that and then something sparks it off,” said Hunter, whose belief that the players were not at fault is backed up by his decision to make only cosmetic changes for the today's trip to QPR.

“We will keep doing the stuff that we have done,” he added. “Before that, obviously, was very good in the first five games and continue it. It is not a question of throwing the baby out with the bathwater and trying something desperate - and we definitely won't be playing 3-5-2, by the way.”

“We will tweak a little bit here and there. But, no, we are firm believers that the preparation we are doing is very thorough so we will brief the players about QPR as we have always done and stick to the principles that we believe in.”

Despite the problems of the past fortnight - manager sacked, speculation on the successor, injuries mounting, players away on international duty - Hunter says those left behind have responded well to the situation.

“The players have been excellent, they have trained really well from Monday onwards, they understand the importance of this game,” he said. “The players and the staff are just focussing on that. We know exactly what we have got to do, and that is what we are all geared to, everything else is peripheral. The atmosphere out there in the changing room is excellent - they have to turn that into a performance.”

Hunter will be hoping Earnshaw, one of the few bright lights of recent weeks, suffers no reaction to his international activities and can add to his tally of eight goals in 10 starts this season - a tally boosted by one for Wales in midweek.

“Obviously for him to score the goals we have to supply the ammunition, and we will work on that,” said Hunter. “The unfortunate thing this week is it is fragmented by international duty. While it is absolutely fantastic for players to represent their country, speaking with a club hat on it is an absolute nightmare in preparing a team. But, all the other managers have the same problem so we just have to get on with it.”

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