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Norwich City Fans Verdict: Loyal Royals Positive In Defeat

Reading fans took the positives after a 2-1 loss to league leaders Norwich City at the Mad Stad.

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Wednesday night was always going to be tough, but I think it’s a sign of just how well this team is progressing that, even though I knew that we were without five players who would be guaranteed starters, I was relatively optimistic going into the game.

However, despite a valiant effort in the first half, Norwich City’s obvious Premier League quality shone through in the second 45 as the visitors walked away with all three points. Losing to a penalty that looked like a dive from Max Aarons does sting, but despite a solid defensive performance for the majority of the game, I think it’s hard to argue against the end result.

I think it’s also a sign of how well Pauno has done in reshaping the culture of the fans, something I talked about in a piece last week, that the Loyal Royals seemed to be quite optimistic in defeat after the game - albeit whilst showing understandable concern about our current injury list.

Take five of any team’s best starting eleven away from them and they’re going to struggle. Now it’s about sticking in and around the play-off picture until we can get some of those key players back.

Here’s how the fans reacted to some of the key talking points to come from Wednesday’s loss...

Injuries

I hate using injuries as an excuse but currently we are without Lucas Joao, Yakou Meite, John Swift, Andy Yiadom, Omar Richards, Felipe Araruna and George Puscas. Five of those seven are, in my opinion, guaranteed starters when fit and firing and the other two are other integral members of the squad.

Any team with those kinds of injuries are going to suffer so, considering that (something I don't think I really did in my player ratings for the game in hindsight), I think we have to applaud the performance on Wednesday night. Norwich are a team destined for the Premier League, so to go toe to toe with them is no mean feat.

However, the injury list at the moment is certainly worrying the fans...

The performance

All in all, the fans seemed to be very pleased with the performance of the players on Wednesday night, considering all of the injuries that we’ve previously mentioned.

If Joao, Meite and Richards are in that team - let alone adding in Yiadom and Swift - I think it’s a completely different game and probably even result.

There were certainly a lot of positives to take from it, particularly in the first half, but also there’s a lot to learn too. We were toothless going forward in that second half, apart from a late flurry of set pieces in the dying embers.

Overall though, the fans were pretty chuffed and optimistic in defeat (I know, it’s weird isn't it)...

January transfer window

Considering how many injuries we’ve had throughout the season, you have to take your hats off to both Pauno and the players to still be in amongst the play off positions - but I think the game on Wednesday highlighted to the fans more than ever the need for strength in depth.

A prime example of this is Norwich being able to bring on a player of Todd Cantwell’s quality whilst our answer was Tom McIntyre in central midfield.

Obviously, if we had everyone fit we’d be in a much better position, but the fans are certainly hoping for some reinforcements in January...

Conclusion

In hindsight, I don’t think you can really complain about either the result or the players’ performance against Norwich. Norwich are a very, very good team and so are we, but obviously we’re not as strong when we’re without five of our starting eleven.

This Christmas period is going to be tough. If we get through to the New Year still going toe to toe and still in the kind of position we’re in now, we can’t really have any complaints.

Next up a nice and easy trip to Brentford...

URZ