Never fear, Norwich City will be out to make amends
When the fixtures came out in the middle of June I instantly thought that the trip to Craven Cottage would provide an extremely difficult opening game for new manager Chris Hughton and his players.
However, I would never have envisaged what was to happen on the sundrenched Saturday afternoon.
It was the worst possible start for the club and new manager Chris Hughton. I saw the highlights when I got back from work Saturday night and it wasn’t pretty.
There was some very poor defending on display to my surprise as in the two friendlies that I had seen in pre season – Ajax and Monchengladbach – the side looked very organized and difficult to break down.
Scoring goals and creating chances seems to be a problem at the minute as the lads drew another blank on Saturday to make it four consecutive games without a goal if you include the last three friendlies. More worrying perhaps is the lack of quality openings being created, but I’m sure there will be no-one working harder than Chris, his staff, and the players to put this right.
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I hope nobody’s pressing the panic button yet because as you well know you get some very strange results on the opening day of a new season.
Just look back to three years ago when Paul Lambert brought his Colchester side to Carrow Road, and I can remember the 2001-02 season when we travelled down to The New Den to face Millwall.
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We had, had a good pre-season, all the hard work had been done and we went down to South London full of confidence for the season ahead. We came home with our tails between our legs having been hammered 4-0! However, we went on to reach the play-off final that season only to lose to Birmingham on penalties.
What I’m trying to say is try not to dwell on Saturday too much; I’m confident the lads will be more than determined to put the wrongs of last Saturday right tomorrow afternoon against QPR.
Losing 5-0 away from home is bad enough in the opening game of the season, but to lose 5-0 at home is a far greater blow, and that’s exactly what Mark Hughes’ men did last week against Swansea.
Sparky has spent quite a bit of money in the summer to strengthen his squad in an attempt to avoid the close relegation fight they were faced with at the end of last season.
I’m certain Mark, like Chris, would have told a few home truths after last week’s performance and QPR will be right up for this game, so the lads will need all your support tomorrow if they are to get a result tomorrow afternoon.
Finally I’d like to welcome Chris, Colin, and Paul Trollope to Norwich and wish them all great success while they are here.
I played with Paul for Wales and he’s someone I’ve always got on well with. Colin Calderwood is an individual I’ve played against on many occasions, and I never found it easy to play against him.
I don’t know Chris personally, but when Paul Lambert left for Aston Villa he was the first man I thought of to take over.
He’s got a great name within the game and has the utmost respect from all quarters.
He did a great job at Newcastle and carried that through with Birmingham last season, and with everyone’s support he’ll continue his good work at Norwich and take the club forward.