No need to panic, says Lee Clark
There is no need for Norwich City supporters to panic, according to assistant manager Lee Clark.The Canaries will have to work their way through the two-week international break knowing they sit just one place above the Championship relegation zone after picking up only one point from their last three games.
There is no need for Norwich City supporters to panic, according to assistant manager Lee Clark.
The Canaries will have to work their way through the two-week international break knowing they sit just one place above the Championship relegation zone after picking up only one point from their last three games.
With a trip to Bristol City and a home game against Wolverhampton Wanderers next on the fixture list, Glenn Roeder's side are in for a serious test of their mettle as the Championship table starts to take shape, but Clark is confident the current crop of City stars have enough to ensure Norwich will not spend this season in a relegation battle.
“Obviously results wise, it's disappointing. The position we are in the table is not somewhere we wanted to be at this stage,” said Clark. “But we are delighted that the players we've got now compared to the team that was inherited in November is far superior.
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“Okay, the fans will possibly be a bit anxious. They haven't had much to cheer about over the last few years, but us as people, that is one thing you cannot be. If the group of players and staff become anxious and go into games with fear, we've definitely got no chance of winning.
“They've all got to believe they are good players, which they are. We believe in them as staff but what we've got to do now is start turning that belief and those thoughts into winning performances and that's what we're hoping to achieve. There is plenty of work going on at the training ground - contrary to what people think - and we will get it put right.”
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Usually footballers like the chance to put a defeat right as soon as possible but having won just two of their opening 10 Championship matches and with a growing injury list including Matty Pattison, Jon Otsemobor and Sammy Clingan, Clark believes this break could be useful.
“To be fair, most of the time you don't want this international break,” said Roeder's assistant. “But I think it has come at a decent time for us. It means we can regroup, get certain players back from injuries who we've undoubtedly missed but also it gives us a chance to put right the few wrongs that have been going on the pitch over the last couple of weeks and to try and rectify the position.
“We were actually in a worse position three games further down the line last season than we are now, and we put on a run that got us within a whisker of the play-offs.
“When you've been in the game long enough and dealing with pressure situations on a regular basis, it is something the real men want to enjoy and the men in the team have to come out and enjoy the next few weeks, to deal with the pressure and the little bit of anxiety that is floating around the place, to get the results that matter.”
Whether those men include Arturo Lupoli, Jamie Cureton and Wes Hoolahan - who have all found themselves struggling to earn a starting berth in recent matches - will depend on their reaction to being left on the sidelines, according to Clark.
“The reaction has got to be good from the players involved in the defeat against Derby and the players who weren't involved. They have got to feel the hurt as well, like we all are,” said Clark. “As you rightly say, the reaction of Wes, Arturo and Jamie to being left out, you have to then react in the right manner. They need to be very professional, which I thought they were for the reserves.
“These lads have to get their heads down, work extremely hard every day to force the manager's hand to get back in the starting 11 and in some cases, even to get back into the 16. There are players that can't even get in the 16 at this moment in time, who you would say are very good players. “
However, Clark believes the spirit in the camp is still good and will also help City push on up the Championship table over the coming weeks.
“We take responsibility as a staff and we take responsibility as players. There is no blame game in terms of nobody pointing fingers at each other. We are all jointly responsible for the results that go on the pitch. We spoke about that with the players and they know the feelings of us as staff. They realise we are not just pushing the onus onto them.
“It is very collective what we do. We win together, we lose together and we just hope in the next coming weeks and months we can turn what we believe are a good group of players into a winning run of games to get us up the table.”