The Tuckster on a listless draw at Reading. But as he points out, any away point is a good point…
After a four game unbeaten run, Norwich City went to Reading looking to continue to move away from the bottom three.
Chris Hughton fielded the same eleven that have become familiar to us all in the tried and trusted 4-5-1 that has got us the results in recent weeks. Both Turner and Garrido were able to return from the knocks that forced them both from the field of play against Stoke.
The match quickly settled into a pattern with Reading trying to force the play with a stubborn Norwich City side holding them at bay, relatively comfortably while they looked to hit Reading on the counter.
The first half was fairly short of chances with neither keeper having to do much,
John Ruddy did well to push away Gareth McCleary`s powerful long range effort but that was about all he had to do of note.
Norwich looked in danger of football suicide though when Bassong was caught in possession by Jason Roberts. Roberts` cross was blocked into the side netting by an alert Michael Turner.
Half time at 0-0 was about right in a fairly poor first period.
On the hour mark, Pogrebnyak and Kebe came on as Reading tried to go for it. These two additions, especially kebe upped the tempo for the home side and their best chance came when a Kebe cross hit the cross bar.
For City though, Holt had the two best chances when Norwich broke forward and the number 9 headed them both wide. He should`ve done better in a game that was very short on quality from both sides. Both sides looked nervous and neither clearly wanted to lose – that suited us more than Reading.
Any point away from home, no matter who the opposition is a good point and so it proved here. The important thing was not to lose the match. The draw will do nothing for Reading`s survival hope but is perfectly acceptable for the Canaries.
Norwich now look a compact unit that have learned how to defend – this was City`s first clean sheet away from home in the Premier League since October 2004, a fact that has been mentioned every other week on MOTD and was starting to grate.
There was a lot of talk on Canary Call about “going for it more” and the obvious lack of goals. Yes, we aren`t scoring a lot and that needs to improve but we are not as gung ho as we were under Hughton`s predecessor.
I think that isn`t necessarily a bad thing. You can`t be gung ho all the time, there is a time and a place and I don`t think that away from home at Reading was either.
One caller even suggested that Steve Morison should replace Holt as the lone striker against Man Utd next week – I`m sorry but that is just crazy talk.
Holt`s work rate and Morison`s perceived lack of it is the reason why everyone moans about Moro.
Even at home, assuming we will play the same way that is currently getting points on the board, against United we will need to be tight defensively. They have so many good players that they can unlock you in a split second.
Holt`s work rate will be needed to give them a game. The lack of goals from other quarters is a worry though because, god forbid, if Holty picks up a knock and is out for a little while then we are short of options. I am sure that Hughton knows this and with January fast approaching and little rumours surfacing in the press recently it looks like he`ll be trying to do something about it.
The recent poll on the forum suggests the majority of voters would like to see Morison sold to bring in another striker.
There`s no doubt in my mind that we need striker options, if we sell Morison and get another in of a decent quality then that can only be a good thing.
It was important not to lose at Reading and it keeps the run going as we face another massive test next week live on tea time TV.
Villa showed that you can get at United last night but ultimately were undone by the Red`s ability to keep going till the end (I wish I`d seen Lambert`s face) coupled with their immense quality.
But, with the match at home and with the victory over Arsenal still a great recent memory there is no reason why we can`t give this a go. Last season we gave them a game home and away and a big scare at Carrow Road – We`ll need everyone to be at 100% and hope that some of their lads have an off day, but let`s give it a real go?