Under seige boss blasts performance

By Rick Lamb
Last updated : 22 October 2005
Fans in the visiting end of Loftus Road, a sea of yellow and green, registered their displeasure at the side's second defeat on the road this week in no uncertain terms, with Nigel Worthington echoing their displeasure.

The Ulsterman's fury at his charges' performance is unlikely to curry much favour with a loyal support who have seen seven goals shipped before half time in the space of five days. Three goals adrift to a distinctly average Queens Park Rangers side at the break, the Canaries fans chanted 'what a load of rubbish'. The disillusionment continued in the second half and turned to unequivocal boos by the final whistle.

"It wasn't just the first half, overall the whole 90 minutes was poor," the beleagured Worthington told the club's website Canaries World after the match. "You've got to give yourself a chance in the game, and today and Tuesday we haven't done that."

Supporters, or in this case critics, would point to some of the manager's decisions rather than the players in terms of 'giving themselves a chance'. The deployment of full back Simon Charlton in a midfield devoid of penetration could be forgiven in the light of the club's injury crisis, but not when penetrative midfielder Jim Brennan has been used at left back.

Similarly, the use of Darren Huckerby as Dean Ashton's strike partner with Paul McVeigh on the left failed to bring the best out of either, left Ashton isolated, and saw McVeigh replaced at half time by Ryan Jarvis.

Ashton, who was City's hardest working and most impressive player by a distance, defended his manager after the match. The striker, who saw a dipping drive from distance tipped over by Simon Royce after bringing a diving save from the Rangers keeper, said the players support the manager and accept the blame for recent performances themselves.

As well as shouldering responsibility on the pitch, being at the hub of all City's attacks in a slightly improved second half and even winning a tackle on the half way line in the closing stages, Ashton is showing tremendous honesty off the field.

"It's all well and good being all smiles when things are going well but it's when your backs are against the wall that you find out who really wants it," said the 21-year-old.

City's top scorer may have said something similar to Robert Green after the third goal went in. Ashton and Gary Doherty, back to his dithering worst, both went for the same ball and the striker's header fell to former Ipswich man George Santos, whose shot went through a crowd and under the England international between the sticks. Green failed to make a single save in the match, and was on the receiving end of a verbal volley from Ashton in front of the visiting fans.

City will be hoping they can put in an improved display at St Andrews on Wednesday against struggling Premiership side Birmingham, managed by former Canary Steve Bruce, in the Carling Cup. They then return to league action and nothing less than three points will be acceptable when Worthington's former club Sheffield Wednesday visit Carrow Road on Saturday.

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