Iwan Roberts: Break has come at right time for struggling Norwich City

I think this could be a very timely international break for everyone at Norwich City Football Club.

It has been a very difficult start to the season, especially for new manager Chris Hughton and the players. Having not won a Premier League game in their opening seven, losing their last three and conceding nine goals in the last two, the start made is now worse than that made by Nigel Worthington’s men eight years ago.

These next couple of weeks without a game will give Chris and the majority of his squad an opportunity to take stock and discuss what’s gone wrong in the first seven games.

It will give them a chance to work hard in training without the distraction of games, trying to improve on the things they haven’t done well over the last few weeks.

I’m sure there will be plenty of defensive work as a team – not just the back four being involved – as the team has conceded far too many goals in the first seven games, leaving the Canaries with the second worst defensive record in the division.


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Individuals have to improve defensively as there have been some very basic mistakes lately that have led to opportunities and goals, the latter being the case too many times.

More often than not, with the quality of attackers in the Premier League, simple individual errors will be punished.

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Players sometimes have to stand up and be counted, taking responsibility for their performance and decisions as you can’t always hide behind the manager and let him take the blame.

I was as shocked and surprised as anyone when I heard towards the end of last week that former manager Paul Lambert was suing the club for �2m for being unfairly relieved of his managerial duties.

For me it was quite simple – well, I thought it was. As far as I understood it, Paul wanted permission to go and talk to Aston Villa about their vacant manager’s position.

When that permission was not granted by the club to talk Villa, he resigned with immediate effect and therefore walked away from any compensation he would have been entitled to. As I say, that’s how I understood it.

I know I’m not legally trained in these matters but that’s how it works as a player.

If a player wants to leave a football club and asks to do so then he’s not entitled to a penny of the remaining terms of his contract.

However, if he’s told he’s no longer wanted at the club and the club decide to sell him he can claim every penny that’s owed to him on the remainder of his contract – is that how it works for managers, too?

Finally I’m looking forward to watching Steve Morison, left, and Russell Martin, who I’m sure will all be involved in the big game in Cardiff tonight when Wales welcome Scotland.

For once I’ll be hoping that Russ has a stinker, and I’ll be willing Steve to bag a couple of goals to kick-start our World Cup qualifying campaign after opening with two defeats.

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