‘We huffed and puffed’ – Keeper frustrated that City couldn’t spark a fightback at Palace
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City felt victory was still within their grasp despite trailing at Crystal Palace at the break, returning goalkeeper Michael McGovern explained following his unexpected Premier League debut.
A competitive first half was defined by Palace skipper Luka Milivojevic's successful penalty in the 21st minute, following a rash challenge by stand-in defender Ibrahim Amadou on James McArthur.
Ralf Fahrmann had started in goal in place of the injured Tim Krul but, after coming close to saving that penalty, the Schalke loanee limped off after a reoccurrence of his groin injury - bringing Northern Ireland international McGovern into the fray with the hosts leading 1-0.
"I don't think there was too much in the game, the first goal was a massive turning point," the 35-year-old said after the 2-0 loss.
"Once Crystal Palace go in front they had something to hold on to and they basically said 'come and break us down'.
"We had a really good spell just before half-time, the whistle came at just the wrong time for us unfortunately.
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"Then we huffed and puffed in spells during the second half but ultimately they got the second goal."
It was McGovern's first City appearance since the FA Cup third round loss to Portsmouth in January and his first league game since a 3-0 Championship loss at Huddersfield in April 2017.
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And the keeper revealed that head coach Daniel Farke still believed his team could go on to win at Selhurst Park in the second half.
"I thought we did come here to get the win and even at half-time I'd say we were more determined than ever, 1-0 down," he continued.
"The manager said to us at half-time that we can go on and win this game, not just come back and get a draw, so the belief was there.
"It's just sometimes it doesn't go for you in football, it wasn't for the want of trying or the want of belief."
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Shots from Todd Cantwell in either half were City's best opportunities, but both lacked the power required.
Substitute duo Max Meyer and Andros Townsend eventually helped the Eagles to see off the visitors' efforts in the second minute of second half injury-time though, with Meyer finding Wilfried Zaha on the left and the winger beating Amadou to find former England winger Townsend in the box, who found the bottom-right corner from just inside the box with his lethal left foot.
McGovern concluded: "Ultimately they have got some top players in the final third, they're well organised, they've got an experienced manager and once they had got that first goal it was going to be tough to break them down.
"We did have some chances, we just couldn't take them."