Why I believe in lucky 13 - Gunn
David Cuffley Manager Bryan Gunn is determined to banish negative thoughts from the dressing room as he looks ahead to the 13 games that will decide Norwich City's Championship fate.
Manager Bryan Gunn is determined to banish negative thoughts from the dressing room as he looks ahead to the 13 games that will decide Norwich City's Championship fate.
A 1-0 defeat at Preston, the 11th the Canaries have suffered in 17 league games on their travels, left them deep in trouble in 20th place in the Championship table, just two points clear of the bottom three.
To make matters worse, the two sides immediately below City have three games in hand, with Barnsley level on points and Watford just two points behind.
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Both teams play tomorrow night, when a win for Watford at home to Swansea and a point for Barnsley at Sheffield Wednesday could land Gunn's men in the bottom three.
But with successive home games coming up against Burnley and Coventry City, Gunn called on his players and staff to come out fighting.
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He said: “Attitude and commitment are going to be crucial in the games that are remaining. There will be a need to work hard for each other.
“That doesn't just apply to the players, but the coaching staff as well. We are all in it together. We all sink or swim.
“I'm not a negative thinker at all. It's a lucky 13 games we are looking for, not an unlucky 13.”
Gunn admitted defeat at Deepdale had hit his squad hard, but said there was no time to reflect on what might have been.
He said: “They're disappointed in the dressing room. That's the worst thing. We're just really trying to get across that we are in a dogfight and the sooner we realise that the better.
“It's a massive game at home against Burnley now. This one's gone, we can't do anything. We've not got anything from it so the focus is on Burnley and getting ourselves right for that game.
“We need to start picking up points, whether it be one or three, in order for us to keep in touch with the rest of the teams around us in the division.
“We have got a long journey back to Norfolk now so the lads can have a think about where we are - we've got to do it now, we have to realise the trouble we are in now before it's too late.
“We've got 13 games left and there are a lot of points there."
Gunn said he was never under any illusion about the size of the task facing him when he took over as manager.
He said: “I knew it was a massive job right from the beginning. That's the reason I took it on. I felt I could help and my coaching staff could help and we just need to get the players believing. We're going to have to work hard next week, we'll have to raise their spirits on the training pitch as well.”
Gunn was disappointed with the goal City conceded four minutes before half-time - and felt, for the second week running, they were denied a penalty when Sean St Ledger appeared to shove Wes Hoolahan to the ground.
He said: “I was happy with the performance, disappointed with the result. I think the lads were the best team for 42 minutes in the first half and there was a moment of slackness in the defence. Everyone had jobs to do picking men up and we just didn't do our job on that occasion and that's cost us the points today.
“We had a sort of mad spell for three minutes just before half-time where we gave away needless free-kicks on the edge of the box and maybe missed a few
clearances. We put ourselves under pressure.
“We might have had a little shout for a penalty kick when Wes went down. We've seen it a couple of times on the replay.
“When you are in the bottom six those decisions don't go for you. When you are in the top six they do.
“If it was outside the box the ref would probably give a foul. If it's in the box it's a penalty.”