'Lack of passion' claim is offside

Midfielder Carl Robinson today hit back at claims made by former Norwich City star Iwan Roberts that the current crop of players lack the passion and desire needed to win.

Midfielder Carl Robinson today hit back at claims made by former Norwich City star Iwan Roberts that the current crop of players lack the passion and desire needed to win.

City goalscoring legend Roberts questioned the commitment of certain players and also criticised the new signings made by boss Nigel Worthington, saying: “I think some of the signings have let Nigel down.”

Robinson, one of Worthington's new recruits, was clearly taken aback by the comments from someone he knows well, having shared a dressing room with Roberts at Wolves and also at international level with Wales.

Speaking ahead of tomorrow's Coca-Cola Championship match against Leicester City at Carrow Road (3pm), Robinson said: “I know Iwan quite well and I am very disappointed in that statement.

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“I don't think that it is the case. Before the Burnley game, we showed that we should have beaten Leeds and they only equalised in the last minute and we performed well against Sheffield United.

“I think that statement is a bit harsh on the lads. We didn't go out there lacking passion. We went out there wanting to win the game at Burnley.”

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He added: “In the first 20 minutes we know that we should have scored goals off the chances that we created. Although they scored on their first attack, which was demoralising, it's about how we bounced back. We didn't bounce back in the way that we should have, but that wasn't through a lack of passion.

“Maybe it was a lack of confidence because we have been behind a couple of times this season, I don't know. We don't go out there purposefully not to play well or to not win games. Everyone has their opinion in football. Iwan's entitled to his opinion and I've only been here a short time, but there is certainly no lack of passion among the players.”

Turning his attentions to matters on the pitch, 29-year-old Robinson acknowledged that City's chances of now making the last six were extremely remote, but is determined to finish the season on a high.

While it's still mathematically possible for the Canaries to reach the play-offs, Robinson is determined to remain totally focused on that goal, but at the same time admitted some rebuilding work was bound to be carried out before the end of the season.

“We know Preston are in sixth place and are 11 points clear of us and are in a great position,” said Robinson. “Mathematically, even if we were to win all our games, all they would need to do would be to win two games and draw one, but they have just won one game in seven so mathematically it is possible that they can slip up.

“But we can do nothing about their results, Wolves or Cardiff. We have just got to worry about ourselves. We are very disappointed after Friday, having put ourselves in a decent position. All the results obviously went for us apart from Preston the other night but that's football and you can only worry about your own results.

“We didn't get the right result on Friday night but we have got a game tomorrow and we have six games to go and we want to finish the season on a high with six victories. We want to win games because winning is a habit and it's about winning.”

“We still have six games to go, we have got to be positive. Next year is another massive year for us. If Preston get their points this year and if we can't get into the play-offs then we are building for next year and it starts now.”

City have won their last four home matches since the derby defeat by Ipswich, but have taken just two points out of 12 from the four away games in the same period.

Said Robinson: “Winning is a habit and we have not won enough this year. Winning six or seven on the trot is very difficult but if you want promotion that is what you have got to do between now and the end of the season.

“We've got to build in, whether it's for this season or the next, a winning habit. We've got to perform like Reading.

“We did it at Sunderland a couple of seasons ago, winning eight games on the trot. If you get off to a good start, you can afford to have a blip here and there like Sheffield United have done this season.”

Robinson also pointed out how important it will be to make a good start to next season, something the Canaries were incapable of at the start of this campaign having drawn their first three matches and lost the next three.

“A lot of it is confidence. If you get off to a good start then you go into games believing you are going to win,” said Robinson, who joined the Canaries from Sunderland for £50,000 after an initial loan spell.

“If it doesn't happen for us this year, we have got to make sure it does next year because there are some big teams in this division, but they are all there to be shot down.

“Maybe everyone wanted to beat Norwich this year, and we have not handled that as well as we probably should have. But we have got to make sure that we do handle it if that's the case next time around.”

City will definitely be without Paul McVeigh, ruled out for the second week running by a back injury.

Leicester are expected to be unchanged following last Saturday's 1-1 draw at home to promoted Reading.

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