'They need to step up' - City legend wants more from summer signings
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City legend Chris Sutton has called for the Canaries' summer signings to step up and show their quality against Brighton after an underwhelming start to Premier League life.
The former City and Celtic striker believes Norway midfielder Mathias Normann is the only one of the nine summer arrivals to really show what he is capable of so far.
Normann, Ozan Kabak and Brandon Williams arrived in late August before the transfer window closed, with Josh Sargent and Christos Tzolis arriving just a few days before the 3-0 home defeat to Liverpool during the opening weekend.
Milot Rashica, Billy Gilmour and Pierre Lees-Melou all played a full part in pre-season though and all have now had a significant number of minutes to get stuck into their new challenge.
“There’s been a lot of nonsense talked about Norwich in certain areas of the media, that they don’t deserve to be in the Premier League and never give it a go," Sutton told the Albion Unlimited show on BBC Radio Sussex ahead of tomorrow's game.
“They’ve spent more in the last transfer window than they’ve ever spent and they’ve brought a lot of new players in.
“I’m not making excuses for them but they lost their best player in Emi Buendia, who went to Aston Villa. Teemu Pukki is the only goal-scorer for Norwich in the Premier League this season and is missing Buendia, they had a great relationship, a great understanding.
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“I think the truth is that Norwich’s signings so far have gone into the team and, maybe with the exception of Mathias Normann who came in a little bit late, the others haven't done quite well enough.
“They'll need time to bed in. The issue is that the Premier League is unforgiving and if it's going to take them three or four months to bed in, it may be too late for Norwich."
Central midfielder Normann claimed an assist on his debut and has forced some good saves with long-range shots during his three appearances, also clipping the crossbar during the 0-0 draw at Burnley before the international break which ended a losing streak at six games.
Sargent scored twice and set up another during the 6-0 thrashing of Bournemouth in the League Cup and has started the last three top-flight games but had minimal chances to open his Premier League account.
Turkey defender Kabak looked more settled at Burnley after a couple of mistakes in his first two games and Lees-Melou is the new boy to feature the most so far, with six starts.
Rashica and Tzolis have been on the fringes and Chelsea midfielder Billy Gilmour has been on the bench recently, with Williams also dropping to the bench at Burnley.
Sutton, who scored 43 goals in 126 games for Norwich between 1991 and 1994 before a British record £5million transfer to Blackburn, works regularly as a pundit for the BBC these days.
He continued: “They got a point last time out at Burnley, Daniel Farke started the season with a back four, he’s now going with three centre-halves, but the issues have been at both ends of the pitch.
“They’ve been conceding goals and they haven’t been scoring enough goals, and that’s a massive problem.
“But it’s the signings really, the likes of Lees-Melou in midfield has had a pretty slow start. Josh Sargent, I like the look of him at times, a young American, he’ll play up front alongside Pukki – Norwich will play a 3-5-2 again against Brighton, I suspect.
“Sargent, I like the look of, but they need to step up and deliver. Even winning ugly would do for Norwich at this moment in time.
“They had a tough start to the season, the third game they lost to Leicester and were a little bit unlucky, had a late goal disallowed, a Kenny McLean header.
“They’ve performed okay in patches, at Everton they were decent in periods, but not creating enough chances so then they’ll go and concede a poor goal, an individual error – that's been the story of their season.
“But they can’t feel sorry for themselves, there’s still a hell of a lot to play for and if Norwich get their act together, starting with Brighton, then they have a chance of staying up.”
PREMIER LEAGUE MINUTES
- Pierre Lees-Melou - 513
- Milot Rashica - 398
- Brandon Williams - 356
- Billy Gilmour - 349
- Josh Sargent - 293
- Ozan Kabak - 249
- Mathias Normann - 229
- Christos Tzolis - 109
- You can listen to the full episode of Albion Unlimited on BBC Sounds