Smith knows every match is 'massive' now for relegation-threatened City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Dean Smith knows it would be futile to play down the significance of Norwich City’s next two games, admitting every match is ‘massive’ now for the relegation-threatened Canaries.
After a sixth successive Premier League defeat without scoring a goal, City host out-of-form Everton on Saturday and then travel to survival rivals Watford next Friday.
“Every game we play is massive,” said Smith after Wednesday night’s 2-0 loss at West Ham. “I said before this game that we wanted to press the reset button, I think performance-wise was better but we have to acknowledge that we’ve been beaten by a top-six Premier League team with better quality.
“There are certain parts of the game that I can happily accept but every game we play is going to be massive.
“Despite all of the criticism we get from a lot of quarters, we’re still only within three points of three other teams, who probably get a lot less criticism, than ourselves.”
Adam Idah was among City’s better performers against the Hammers but had to go off with cramp in the 76th minute, shortly after seeing a powerful shot tipped onto the post superbly by Lukasz Fabianski with the score still at 1-0.
Just eight goals from 20 games leaves Norwich on course for a Championship return though.
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"Of course it’s a concern,” the Canaries chief said of that paltry total. “We’ve had opportunities and had some really good opportunities in the first five or 10 minutes.
“I thought Adam could have hit one with his left foot the first time but when you’re not scoring goals you can actually lose a little bit of confidence in yourselves.
“That’s what we’re fighting against at the moment and trying to win back.”
Smith switched to a 4-4-2 formation, with Idah paired with Teemu Pukki up front, Milot Rashica and Przemek Placheta on the wings and Kenny McLean partnered with Pierre Lees-Melou in central midfield.
“I felt we needed to,” he explained. “Obviously we’ve got Mathias (Normann), Lukas Rupp and Billy Gilmour injured, so I wanted to try a different way and see if we could cause a different problem for the opposition.
“I think we restricted them to 12 shots and had eight ourselves, so it looks a pretty even game in terms of stats but the better quality won in the end.
“I just feel that we can pull the trigger a little bit earlier at times. It’s almost like we need to make a good chance better and I keep telling them, if you get a good chance, take it.”