Ruddy: Don’t lose the faith

AUDIO: Goalkeeper John Ruddy sympathised with supporters over Norwich City’s third home defeat of the season – but urged them to stand by their team for Saturday’s visit of managerless Middlesbrough.

The Canaries slipped two places to fifth in the Championship table after last night’s 2-1 reverse at the hands of struggling Crystal Palace.

Two goals in the space of seven minutes, from defenders Julian Bennett and Antony Gardner, gave Palace the points after skipper Grant Holt had given Paul Lambert’s men an interval lead.

City have taken more points on their travels than at Carrow Road, where Watford and Hull also pulled off victories.

It was a night when fellow promoted teams Leeds and Millwall also suffered surprise home defeats, but Ruddy said he understood the importance of home security.

“We know how important home form is and we know how important it is for the fans that we perform and pick up results here as well, and we’ll be doing our utmost on Saturday to put this behind us,” said Ruddy.

“The fans vented their frustration at the end of the game, but you know, I urge them to go home, look at the league table, look at the performances we’ve put in so far this season and get behind us for Saturday.

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“If you drop a couple of points here and there you can drop right down the league. That’s how tight it is. We know if we win on Saturday we will be back up to third or roundabout there anyway.”

Both Palace goals were headers from corners, but Ruddy was largely blameless.

He said: “The first one, to be fair to him, was a good header. He got up across Barney (Leon Barnett) and Grant Holt, and he put it in the far corner. The second one was very disappointing from my point of view, but it happens in football.

“He’s, what, six feet five, six feet seven? And if the right ball is put into him it’s going to be hard to beat him in the air. We set up right, we had the right people marking him and unfortunately he just got the header in front of them.”

City were forced into changes at the back with Jens Berthel Askou and Steven Smith on the left side of the back four, and Ruddy admitted it was not easy to come into a settled line-up.

“The type of match it was as well, they are quite direct and good in the air up front, and as you we saw they were good at set pieces,” he said. “ “But Jens is a good centre-half. He’s good in the air, so he would have expected to just settle right in and for the majority of the match he did. He did well.

“Same with Steven Smith on the left. He had a tricky customer up against him but he dealt with him well.”

Ruddy, who will be 24 on Sunday, made three fine saves to limit the damage against Palace and admitted he was finding his feet with City after mixed fortunes in the opening weeks of the season.

“I had a difficult start to my career at Norwich, I’ll be the first to admit my performances didn’t set the world alight,” he said. “But I’m getting more comfortable, settling in more as the days go by and I hope that will start to show even more in my performances.”