Youssouf Mulumbu admits Norwich City went through the motions in horror Championship first half at Barnsley, but still pins the blame for defeat on his team-mates rather than manager Alex Neil
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Norwich City’s players have to take responsibility for their latest failure according to Youssouf Mulumbu, as make or break time approaches for Alex Neil.
The City boss admitted picking the wrong team, as their brief respite the previous weekend came to a grinding halt at Barnsley.
So with Aston Villa and Huddersfield at Carrow Road in the next five days – off the back of jeers from City supporters at Oakwell – the pressure is reaching tipping point.
“It’s easy to blame the manager,” said Mulumbu, who was one of two half-time introductions at Oakwell. “He gave us all the information about the opponent and we are the ones that are responding.
“The big example is when you see the second half – you just think yes, that’s the players because they work hard in the second half, they win the second ball, we were going forward, we had the confidence to play from the back. That’s what we need to do against Villa. But you know what, we can talk – but the best thing to do is to work, and on Tuesday we are going to respond.”
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Mulumbu had a damning verdict for City’s first-half efforts, conceding twice before being jeered off by most of the 1,287 Norwich supporters at the interval.
“The game was played how Barnsley wanted it to be played,” he added. “We came here with the plan to play out from the back, and when you don’t have the confidence and the opponent is trying to make you play how they want, it is hard.
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“We started playing long balls and maybe that isn’t the type of game we like. We just fell into their trap – but we also went through the motions in that first half as well, I think. So we’re going to correct that and against Villa is going to be a different game.”
Mulumbu helped stem the tide with his half-time arrival at Oakwell – but the midfielder felt City got it all wrong before that point.
“I just think we came here to play from the back and maybe there was a trap they set up, and we just fell in because they were playing long ball and pressing us in the first half, and maybe we didn’t have the confidence to play from the back,” he said.
“So that is the major thing and we conceded. When you concede away from home, it’s always hard.
“Obviously we should be doing better than we are. We’re not going to hide from anything. When we don’t win, it’s the players. We won’t blame anyone, because when you see the second half you feel like, what happened from the first half to the second?
“So that’s what I’m going to say. We’re going to work hard, and the team that’s going to start Tuesday (at home to Aston Villa) needs to perform and needs to be ready to fight.”
As for the reaction City received at half-time and, in fewer numbers, the final whistle from their travelling fans, Mulumbu added: “If the fans are disappointed, imagine how the players are?
“When you see the second half it makes you think what would happen if we started the way we started the second half. But that’s our fault.
“I trust my team-mates. The big thing is in the group we don’t have a lack of talent or good players. It’s just about confidence coming in time. We’ll talk about it and we will have fixed it before Tuesday.
“The team responded really well in the second half and that’s why we’re disappointed, because if we’d started like that, then we would’ve won.
“But when you see the way we played against Brentford, I don’t think we have to be scared of anyone at home, and especially in front of our fans. They always respond, so let’s see what happens Tuesday.”