Roeder - I'll be the last man standing

David Cuffley Manager Glenn Roeder faced up defiantly to the growing anger of Norwich City supporters after last night's FA Cup exit by insisting: “I will be the last man standing.

David Cuffley

Manager Glenn Roeder faced up defiantly to the growing anger of Norwich City supporters after last night's FA Cup exit by insisting: “I will be the last man standing.”

Roeder staged a lengthy post-mortem with his players into the 1-0 third round replay defeat by Charlton while fans outside the ground called for his dismissal.

Then, nearly an hour and a half after the end of the game, the City boss told reporters he was convinced his team - a perilous 21st in the Championship - would turn things round in the weeks ahead.

He said: “I wouldn't say it was an inquest, it was a time for sitting down and talking to the players, the squad.

“Things got said in there that were controlled, sensible and committed to what needs to be done.

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“They know how serious the situation is, they knew how serious the situation was last year and they fought their way out of it and I believe they will fight their way out of it again this year, playing, generally speaking, the only way we can play - and that's to pass the ball well, which we did at times tonight but we didn't do it for long enough.

“The crowd, understandably, are with us when we're on top and playing well, but as soon as a few passes go astray, because they are so frustrated and fragile at the moment, they obviously took that out on the players and they took that out on me.

“I can cope with it - what mustn't happen, it mustn't get to the players. They have got to show the same courage that I can display and I think they will.”

Roeder admitted, however, he did not enjoy being the target of chants and calls for his sacking.

“I am not going to tell you any lies - no one likes it,” he said.

“Tell me a human being that would enjoy that. But where some human beings have no backbone and would go under, don't expect me to.

“Football changes with a flick of the finger, it changes very quickly and I will be the last man standing. I don't fall over very easily - in fact I don't fall over at all.

“Too many things have happened in my life - recovering from brain tumours and things like that gives you a different sense of purpose to life.

“Most people haven't had to deal with things like that. Most people who have to deal with things like that then just slide away and do what they have to do for the rest of their life, but that's not me, and it never will be.

“I love a fight. I don't like where we are at the moment.

“I accept the criticism because they want to win. I want to win as well - as long as they know that. But I never cow down, I never give in and we will turn it around. Although the league table or the points total doesn't say this at the moment, this small tiny squad has much more quality than last year's.”

He added: “Things are generally tough at the moment. But we'll pull through this.

“People will remember the poor periods of the game because we were 1-0 down after five minutes and losing the game. When we were on top and playing well, the crowd were right behind us and on side with us. But at the moment, you give the ball away once or twice when you shouldn't - and we did that a number of times - and the mood of the crowd changes very quickly.

“I understand that, patience is incredibly thin, but they are no more frustrated than I am. But as soon as we get back on top again, they're with us. That's the nature of football when things aren't going well.”

City have taken just 10 points from their last 14 league games and last night's attendance was the lowest at home since the Carling Cup tie against Barnet nearly 18 months ago.

“We know the situation we're in. We know the games that we have to win and the number of games we have to win to start climbing the table. We can only attack one game at a time,” said Roeder.

“But we have to make sure, we have to find players and when we create the chances we do create they stick the ball in the back of the net and we don't have to keep making four or five good chances to stick one in the back of the net because we can't afford that.”