Terri Westgate: It's far too early to be writing off City
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
There are 38 games in a Premier League season, and we have played just five.
It’s true to say that those five have been disappointing defeats, none more so than the 3-1 loss to Watford on Saturday. It had been billed by many as “must win”.
The higher the expectations, the further your hope has to plummet when the bubble bursts. This was the reason that so many fans felt angry at the final whistle and chose to express themselves with pantomime booing. Though by this point many others had already left the ground, so certain were they that no late comeback was on the cards.
Though some now see the remaining 33 games as redundant and have decided the season is as good as over, may I proffer an alternative viewpoint.
It was an eventful summer for the Canaries, with COVID outbreaks and pre-season games cancelled. Long standing players, with two Championship medals in their pocket left the club, with some of their replacements not coming in until we were three games down.
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This, along with starting the season by playing two of the top sides in Europe, has led to our current position at the bottom of the table with a big fat zero in the points column.
However, it’s just over four months ago that Daniel Farke completed our record breaking points total to win the Championship at a canter. Norwich are in the Premier League on merit, and our head coach deserves time and patience to turn things around.
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Following all the changes in the squad, he is yet to discover the best starting XI. Football is a team game, it’s not about the individuals but how those players work together.
That brings me to my first point of optimism; Josh Sargent and his burgeoning partnership with Teemu Pukki. It’s clear to see that they already enjoy playing together, and although not all of their one-twos came off on Saturday, it’s apparent that with more game time they could become a potent duo.
Secondly, Mathias Normann making his debut in the Olly Skipp shaped hole showed plenty of promise. As he settles in to the team, he could become that vital link between shoring up the defence and spraying the ball out to the more creative players. We also got to experience his long throw, which may be required to help break deadlocks as the season progresses.
Possibly the biggest concern so far this season is the defence. The back four always works as a unit, but with every game there has been changes. Though there is plenty of endeavour, there have been gaps that the opposition has exploited. Norwich are never going to be a team that sits back and plays for a 1-0 victory, but a solid defensive wall is required to pick up points.
Arguably the greatest threat to our survival at the moment is morale. Where once we were a team known for late comebacks and injury time winners, so far this season heads seem to drop when we concede against the run of play.
The biggest mountain we have to climb is therefore psychological. This is the one area where we as fans can be a positive influence. Defiantly singing On The Ball City when the opposition score, reminds the players to Never Mind The Danger, to keep their heads held high and never give up.
We can all air our grievances in the pub after the match, or express our opinions on social media, to confidently espouse where it all went wrong. But whilst the game is still in play we should continue to sing for the yellow and green until the final whistle.
I will wear my colours with pride and sing myself hoarse, whatever the score line. Following Norwich City is a rollercoaster journey, the ups and downs are what makes it so captivating. And the joy of going to football is about so much more than the result, and after so many months shut out of the ground, I intend to savour every second.