Players' futures up in the air - Fleming

DAVID CUFFLEY Club captain Craig Fleming said he and his Norwich City team-mates were “playing for our own jobs” - after the crushing home defeat that finally cost manager Nigel Worthington his.


Club captain Craig Fleming said he and his Norwich City team-mates were “playing for our own jobs” - after the crushing home defeat that finally cost manager Nigel Worthington his.

The end of Worthington's reign, after nearly six years in charge at Carrow Road, was finally announced 2½ hours after a 4-1 humiliation at the hands of Burnley left the Canaries struggling in 17th place in the Coca-Cola Championship.

First team coach Martin Hunter has been given caretaker charge of the side, assisted by Doug Livermore, while City begin their search for a new manager.

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But while Worthington's future was being decided upstairs, veteran defender Fleming accepted that the team had to take their share of the blame for yesterday's capitulation - in a game in which acting skipper Gary Doherty was shown the red card.

Said Fleming: “I'm a bit lost for words, to be honest. We conceded two easy goals to start with and then with Gary sent off that was it, really. It was backs against the wall. They were carving us open.

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“I think with 10 men we were going to struggle. We didn't really shut up shop. We went chasing the game and trying to claw it back, so they were always, always going to create chances. There were times when they were outnumbering us quite heavily on the counter-attack. If we'd have had 11 men, you don't know, do you? You don't know.

“But we were easy to beat today and last Saturday and that's not us. The success we've had, that's not what it's been based on.”

Fleming admitted the players were conscious that Worthington's job was on the line when he said: “There was that sense today and, to be brutally honest, we're playing for our own jobs as well.

“Whatever happens, whoever's manager, if it's Nigel or whatever, once you cross that white line it's up the players and we've not performed. So I don't think any of us have got any complaints now, whatever happens to the players.

“We've become very easy to beat but we've got to turn it round. It's only the players that go out there and play and the lads that are pushing for spot in the squad, it's up to us to put it right.”

Winger Lee Croft echoed Fleming's view when he said City were “not the same team” that began the season so impressively.

Croft, who limped off with a calf injury 20 minutes from time, said: “I'm just devastated. I can't believe the result.

“We're conceding goals which we can't afford to concede. I can't put my finger on it, really. We need to pick ourselves up and we need to do it quick.

“We conceded two sloppy goals and gave them a 2-0 head start, which we seem to be making a bit of a habit of recently and putting ourselves on the back foot. Doc getting sent off opened the game right up for them and things went from bad to worse.

“That's the annoying thing. After such a good start, we're like a different team. It's not the same team. We're not playing with confidence.”

Asked about City fans' protests, he said: “Fans have got the right to say what they want to say and now it's up to us to try and put things right on the field.

“They've got the right to their opinion. We said in the changing rooms after the game that it's down to us. We're the ones who have to go out there and perform and we're the ones who play for 90 minutes. We feel bad on the manager because he's given us all he can give us, and he's really passionate and it's up to us to go out and perform. If we're not doing that I think we should take the flak.”

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