Date: 28th January 2017 at 5:59pm
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NORWICH 2 BLUES 0

Carrow Road has long been on the list of grounds Blues don’t like to visit and if their current form continues, they’ll be adding several more grounds to that list.

Pressure is mounting on Gianfranco Zola after nine winless games in charge. Reading’s visit to St. Andrews on Tuesday has now become paramount, not only for Blues’ season, but perhaps also for Zola’s job. Rather than looking up, Blues are now nervously glancing over their shoulder as they could so easily be sucked into the relegation dog fight.

Cameron Jerome set the tone with a 15th minute goal just seconds after Lukas Jutkiewicz rattled the crossbar. Blues did have their chances but, as usual, gums instead of teeth came to the fore at crunch moments.

As one caller to the BBC WM phone in put it, Zola is ‘trying to play champagne football with lemonade players’. Many of these lemonade players are same ones who produced results under Gary Rowett – except the lemonade was fizzy, now it’s flat. Since the change of manager and the resulting change of style, defensively Blues have become amateurish as if they’ve forgotten everything they were previously about.

I was critical of the football under Rowett and I’m not calling for Zola’s head just yet. But it’s becoming harder and harder by the week to defend him. The longer this winless run goes on, the harder it becomes.

By the time Timm Klose added Norwich’s second two minutes before the interval with a completely unmarked header, the writing was on the wall.

Zola was as honest as ever during his post match press conference. His trust in his players and confidence in his own ability is admirable in many ways. Yet fans only want results, nothing else matters in their eyes.

While Blues played on the front foot for most of the first half, basic errors have cost the team. When you’re so flimsy in the final third, you simply cannot afford to make these errors and until Zola addresses this, Blues will merely be making up the numbers on any football pitch.

Blues have two home games in the next week and both will be played out in front of a dismayed St. Andrews. Failure to win either game will create a toxic atmosphere and the knives will be out. I like Zola, I admire what he’s trying to do and I really hope it comes good. I’ve never wished success on any manager as much as I do Zola – but let’s be realistic, we should be doing much better.

 
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