Neil’s attitude in victory is a refreshing outlook

Columnist Edward Seaman

Columnist Edward Seaman

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If ever a match could sum up Norwich City’s season so far then it was Tuesday night’s 3-2 win at Charlton.

City should have been out of sight by half-time, carving Charlton open with ease and playing some attractive football before defensive lapses in concentration ensured an unnecessarily tense finale.

It was these defensive issues that led Alex Neil to criticise his side following the game, despite eventually earning three points.

Seeing a manager unhappy despite victory is oddly refreshing, because as Neil alluded to, better teams would have punished City and with Wolves, Watford, Blackburn and Ipswich coming up in what is set to be a season defining period, it is these errors that have to be cut out.

However, City scored a late winner as substitutes Wes Hoolahan and Cameron Jerome combined and it is the former I want to talk about.

Hoolahan has received a lot of criticism on social media, not just on Tuesday night, but throughout the season.

He has been labelled a liability, ‘past it’ and accused of giving the ball away too often and this totally baffles me.

Anyone who has watched Norwich this season and over the last five or so years will tell you what a good player Hoolahan is, especially at this level.

He is a magician on the ball and, in my opinion, there is no other player like him in the league.

The stats speak for themselves. Wes has eight league assists this season, the most for the club and two more than Nathan Redmond — when you consider he has only played 21 league matches (starting just 14 of those), it is an impressive statistic.

As mentioned, his last assist set up Jerome’s 15th goal of the season and it’s pleasing to see him, Grabban and Hooper all score in the last week as we are going to need all three firing on all cylinders as we approach this crucial period.

That starts with Wolves tomorrow. Three points would open up a gap in the table below and at this stage of the season we cannot afford any more slip-ups in big games.