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Ricardo's report v Burton Albion

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Another pleasantly warm and bright autumnal day here in Norwich and with the pitch was looking resplendent,  Ricardo and son took their seats anticipating the prospect of a dominant performance. With no changes from last weeks victory at Forest, City kicked off towards the Barclay End but were soon finding it hard to make progress against a lively and energetic Burton side that pressed high up on the City back line. Consequently we were treated to far to many long balls up to Jerome that were comfortably dealt with by the Brewers defence.The home defence didn''t look entirely at ease and Burton almost drew first blood when Dyer unleashed a twenty yarder that flew a foot over the City bar. It required someone with a bit of poise to put their foot on the ball but all to often in these early minutes City''s play was disappointingly disjointed. There was a little burst on six or seven minutes that produced a couple of corners but it couldn''t be sustained as passes continually went astray. Dyer was finding loads of space on the Burton left and with the City defence playing too narrow there always seemed to be an outlet for the away side.There were few promising moments until almost on the half hour mark City took the lead with a sharp move that split the Albion defence. Olsson found himself well forward after a run and when Dorrans slid a neat pass into the area it was the City fullback who received, turned and clipped a neat finish over the keeper. Burton tried to snap back immediately but when the move broke down Murphy raced clear and earned a free kick in a dangerous area only for Brady to waste his effort straight at the wall. Then Jerome might have increased the lead only to play a pass to a marked Hoolahan when a shot might have been a better option. The big City striker was again the culprit just before the break when his speed took him clear of the keeper only to shoot into the side netting from a narrow angle.So we arrived at the break and although the boys received a round of applause I have to say that I remained strangely dissatisfied. It had been a very bitty sort of performance with City only raising the game in odd moments and also looking vulnerable much too often.That vulnerability was starkly displayed within seconds of the restart. A needless throw in resulted in some determined Burton play that saw the ball ping about off defenders and end in a right old scramble with Atkins finally poking the ball into the net. It was a ludicrous goal to concede but I have to say it was totally in keeping with the wasteful performance that we had so far witnessed.The crowd could so easily have turned at this stage but from the restart, City burst down the right with Murphy and this time Jerome''s return pass was good enough for the City youngster to lash a shot on goal. It was certainly headed a yard wide but took a deflection off a defender and nestled neatly in the far corner to huge sighs of relief all round.Once again we hoped City would go on to dominate but Burton wouldn''t lie down and almost snatched another leveler when McGovern was caught in no-mans land only for City to desperately scramble the ball away. Time was passing but there was no sign of movement on the bench as City continued to waste some decent attacking opportunities. Wes almost beat the entire Burton defence in the penalty area only to finally run out of room as City finally tied to nail down the coffin lid.Then withe game entering the final quarter a good City move ended with a clear handball as a Dorrans shot looked goal bound. A penalty and a red card for Flanagan. Brady then stepped up, and although his shot was hard and low in the corner, the Burton keeper produced a tremendous diving save to his right and a minute later superbly blocked a close range Jerome strike. At this stage, despite the extra man I could still see the points being squandered.With time ticking away and  tufts of hair were being pulled out wholesale, there was a perceptible nervousness around the whole stadium. Pinto had to intercept and dribble clear as the crowd gasped for breath. The game was still far to open but City were making glorious openings only to waste chances with poor decision making with Brady and Jerome both being guilty parties. The Murphy twins finally swapped places and Thompson came on for a tiring Wes and then in injury time Oliviera came on for the tireless Jerome and immediately showed some nice control.My man of the match, Ivo Pinto finally settled the jangling nerves with yet another lung bursting gallop into the area before netting from a very tight angle. It was a fitting reward for an all round outstanding display.So, another three points and top of the table tonight but again I find myself not entirely convinced. It must have shown in our faces, because twice on the stroll home we were stopped by people who thought we must have lost due to our less than joyful expressions. Lets be honest about it, we were never entirely in control and although the table looks good tonight we are still awaiting any kind of commanding home performance. As my son rightly remarked, it was a funny game, could have been 6-0 or 2-2.

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Whatever league or players are playing there, our defence always looks liable to a mistake or two. Most of the goals we concede are gifts. I thought Klose would help us in this respect but he was very shaky today and not been the commanding defender generally this season that I thought he would be. Still, early days.

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Have to agree we never looked solid at the back, but hey if you score more goals than the opposition...........and we definitely looked like doing that.

Fair report imo, thanks!

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Yes pretty much agree with all of that, although I thought we were comfortable in the first half after we scored. Was surprised AN waited so long to make changes with Burton clearly fancying it as the half went on.

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Only one Ricardo ! excellent summary of the day. Agree with Pinto, he is fast becoming a legend and hasn''t been here long enough to truly earn that title, very industrious with a great will to win.

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Nice summary Ricardo, but one tiny point, Martin must have left his brain in the changing room at half time, put the ball out needlessly only to then allow to be beaten to a ball he could have easily headed out for a corner then like a mad man added to the chaos by running into the crowded 6 yard box......the one tiny criticism of our performance.

I love that Klose will just clear the ball out for a throw then get organised, top class defenders to the simple things well.

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Personally thought Pinto struggled a bit defensively in the first half but was delighted to see him get a goal.

Thought Klose was poor but so was the whole defensive unit really. Some have called for Martin to be dropped but he was better than Klose in almost every area today.

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Not sure about Martin being better, Klose just played the simple game today. Martin was at fault for their goal, from putting the ball out under no pressure, to allowing the ball to bounce being beaten easily by their forward and then lunging in.....

I''m not too bothered as in reality, Burton are not anyone''s whipping boys far from it, a half decent side which caused us some pain, but I''d stick with the same back 4 Hoggs, I think they could develop into our championship backbone.

I hate to say it, but I''d bring back Ruddy, IMO a better keeper.

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Yes Pinto is a different player in this league, going forward fantastic, still dubious of his defending skills where he was found out last season when we were under pressure in the majority of games. Good Buy

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Thanks as always Ricardo, am enjoyable read and reflection on the game, especially after a win.

Agree that Pinto was my motm, good defending has been questioned at times but he''s got better every week and the goal today was what he deserved for a cracking performance.

Our defensiveness as a whole has been a concern all season so far but we have enough depth and quality to not worry too much. The ethos in previous campaigns has possibly been to outscore the opposition rather than invest in a solid defence although of course we''d love to have both. Whilst it might have failed us last season, we should have enough to be there or there abouts at the end of the season. I still remain we need a quality striker to help us over the line. Oliveira could be that man, but Jerome at present has been a little too wasteful in the last few games.

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Agree with the tone of Ricardo''s comments. Typical of the home games we have seen this season. On an individual basis, we have many good quality Championship Players, and are clearly much stronger than the opposition. To frustrate us they tend to keep the ball in the air a lot and on many occasions we are unable to obtain a real grip on the game. Despite this we are deservedly top and furthermore our main striker is a bit wayward and not receiving much in the way of any close support. Better get it off my chest - but Wes continually slows us down. To some he might be pleasing on the eye, but in my opinion he does not play enough quality passes, often putting team mates under pressure with short passes when already closely marked. Also think that Klose will be more comfortable with a combative Ryan Bennett beside him.

Finally the vocal support this season seems a bit lacklustre, despite our lofty position, and possibly reflects some of the views I have stated. After watching Newcastle tonight against a dreadful Aston Villa, we do not have much to fear. Time will tell.

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Cheers Ricardo, seems about right from what I can research and thanks... Am on holiday in North Devon this week.

Great result today and wouldn''t be too surprised if we sneaked a win at the toon, not too sure about the Wolves game though.

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[quote user="ricardo"]So, another three points and top of the table tonight but again I find myself not entirely convinced.[/quote]
Good report Ricardo, but I''m not in agreement with this part. Expectations have boundaries. Top of the league after 5 credible performances and you''re not convinced?
We have so many players stating their individual claims, and (to boot) Neil is finally demonstrating the depth of our squad by playing to the the squad depths. Which is great.

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[quote user="Thecanaryfan"][quote user="ricardo"]So, another three points and top of the table tonight but again I find myself not entirely convinced.[/quote]
Good report Ricardo, but I''m not in agreement with this part. Expectations have boundaries. Top of the league after 5 credible performances and you''re not convinced?
We have so many players stating their individual claims, and (to boot) Neil is finally demonstrating the depth of our squad by playing to the the squad depths. Which is great.
[/quote]I''m happy enough with the results TCF, it''s the unconvincing manner in which we have achieved them that concerns me. We should be good enough to control games when getting in front at home. I can''t say I have felt that in any game so far.

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[quote user="ricardo"][quote user="Thecanaryfan"][quote user="ricardo"]So, another three points and top of the table tonight but again I find myself not entirely convinced.[/quote]
Good report Ricardo, but I''m not in agreement with this part. Expectations have boundaries. Top of the league after 5 credible performances and you''re not convinced?
We have so many players stating their individual claims, and (to boot) Neil is finally demonstrating the depth of our squad by playing to the the squad depths. Which is great.
[/quote]I''m happy enough with the results TCF, it''s the unconvincing manner in which we have achieved them that concerns me. We should be good enough to control games when getting in front at home. I can''t say I have felt that in any game so far.[/quote]
I personally don''t think we have been unconvincing. We have failed to kill teams off for sure, but we have been pretty much always the better side by my reckoning. Not just at home.

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Did you go to the Wigan game Canary Fan? During that second half, did you genuinely think we were the better side?

There''s work to be done for sure. But the great bit is of course that we''re top of the league with 5 wins on the bounce and know that we can go on and play better. Newcastle is our next test, win that and I''ll be a lot blue convinced!

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Ricardo wrote: "I''m happy enough with the results TCF, it''s the unconvincing manner in

which we have achieved them that concerns me. We should be good enough

to control games when getting in front at home.
I can''t say I have felt

that in any game so far."We are good enough, but at home the defensive discipline that Dorrans referred to after the Forest game, and all the discussion he said they''d had about it in the days between that and the Wigan game, seems to go out of the window. You can''t control games if you don''t curb the "let''s just go and get another one" home game mentality. An example yesterday which someone commented on was at a Norwich corner, score 2:1, when everyone went up bar goalkeeper and one defender who was left marking two Burton attackers. The corner was caught by the Burton goalie, who rifled the ball out to the two attackers, the upshot being that we were fortunate not to concede. I''m going purely on reports, not having seen the game, but that''s the impression I formed. Same old "mindset" failings as were supposedly going to be corrected in other words.

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Thanks Ricardo.Despite his rather limited passing, Tettey is an important part of our defensive set up and when he returns, I think (hope) we will look more solid. Having said that, at times, especially in the Championship, he seems to get a bit bored in just playing the defensive role and joins in attacks, which looks a bit ill-disciplined?

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Indy, I wouldn''t change the back four either.

But Martin was better than Klose yesterday, who missed simple aerial challenges, struggled with distribution and got too tight to his man on several occasions and got beat.

If it was Martin having that performance this forum would be in meltdown.

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Thanks Ricardo, I think you catch the feeling of the crowd very well. I don''t know whether it is just nerves, or whether we really do make "poor sides" (I thought Burton were better than Cardiff and Wigan) look slightly better largely by our style. We went through a period of giving the ball back to them, with a long ball to Cam, who even when he wins it , our "number 10" doesn''t pick it up. I thought the crowd were great to Cam yesterday btw, he is clearly struggling in front of goal, but puts in a good shift , does what Neil asks , and gets a rousing round when he was subbed (and looked like he appreciated it)

A few bits of chess I thought. Neil stuck Dorrans on the lad with the hair half way through the first half (he started to control the midfield for a while) , and I thought we struggled a bit overall with their 10 who scored, who played a very fluid role which started at right back (although they went to a three in possession) and ended as Centre Forward (largely due to the sending off). I thought they were their best players.

I cant agree I''m afraid with Pinto. I think we have another right back who looks shaky at defending. I thought Olsson was exceptional (strange how we are talking about defenders again) , and Klose looked assured. We miss Tettey.

So we find ourselves top. Five out of five, still nicely under the radar, but listening to the hubbub as we descended from the upper Barclay , and on the train, lots of people remain to be convinced that against "good sides" we will struggle. BUT these are the games where we seem to traditionally do better in? Time will tell.

Love the fact that both Murphy''s shoot. Long may that continue.

 

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I think we lack a bit of positional discipline in the middle at times- both Howson and Dorrans like to break from deep and even Tettey is prone to chasing the ball at times when he needs to sit and cover. This can lead to games getting a bit stretched and teams being able to run at our defence without much protection. I''d like to see us control games a bit better by being more disciplined in the middle of the park when we have the lead.

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[quote user="king canary"]I think we lack a bit of positional discipline in the middle at times- both Howson and Dorrans like to break from deep and even Tettey is prone to chasing the ball at times when he needs to sit and cover. This can lead to games getting a bit stretched and teams being able to run at our defence without much protection. I''d like to see us control games a bit better by being more disciplined in the middle of the park when we have the lead.[/quote]Agree with this.  The matches I saw earlier in the season we were  bit careless, almost reckless at times. Seems it''s still happening a bit.  the key is converting more cahnces earlier in a game, but if it is tight with a one goal lead, then yes, a bit more discipline in front of the back four would be good. 

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Summed up, we have the capacity to be a bit rubbish at times, but not as rubbish as most in this league.All we have to do is be less rubbish than the rest of them.[:)]

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@LDC

While I like and rate Tettey he would be one of the positions I''d look to upgrade if we went back up. A real, disciplined holding midfielder is essential to letting our more creative players play with freedom.

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