SCOUT Phil Smith takes a look back at Burnley’s FA Cup exit at Premier League Norwich City on Saturday, and the absence of the suspended Kieran Trippier.
If evidence was needed as to the importance of a managerial appointment, please look no further than our clash at the weekend.
On August 8th, 2009, Norwich City began life in League One with a 7-1 reversal at the hands of Colchester United.
Eleven days later, Robbie Blake sent a capacity Turf Moor crowd into ecstasy with his fabled winner against Manchester United.
The Canaries appointed Paul Lambert almost immediately, whilst we are all acutely aware of the sequence of events which led to Brian Laws assuming control of a Premier League team, despite leaving Sheffield Wednesday by mutual consent only weeks before.
Respective win percentages of 51.64 and 29.55 tell the story.
Successive promotions testament to the former UEFA Champions League winner’s ability in the dugout.
A success rate of 45.28 percent enjoyed by Eddie Howe suggest that the seeds of recovery have been sown down Harry Potts Way, and only time will tell if he is able to have us dining from the top table of English football once more.
The role of a substitute is to make an impact, and, not for the first time this season, Lambert ensured that his did just that.
Steve Morison netted his eighth of the campaign, following a meaningful contribution from fellow substitute Aaron Wilbraham.
However, if the truth be told, our FA Cup campaign was consigned to failure from the moment Grant Holt nodded home Wes Hoolahan’s inviting cross from the left.
Granted, a Jay Rodriguez goal ensured that the Canaries search for that elusive clean sheet continued, as predicted on Friday, but we were below par in every department, and that is a real cause for concern.
It was particularly frustrating to note our lack of width, although not entirely surprising, when you consider that Eddie Howe opted to play with a forward three.
It was certainly a strange selection away from home, against opponents known to prefer large periods of the game in possession of the football.
As a result, the trio had to drop back in order to prevent Norwich City from dominating in the centre.
Our nine goal attempts compared to their 20 reflect a lack of pressure in the first, second and third phase.
“We were great at certain times in the game.
“I thought the tempo was good, the movement was great” admitted Lambert when discussing the performance of his side on Saturday, and I wholeheartedly agree.
We were beaten by the better team, but considering the changes made to Norwich City’s starting XI, the margin at the end was a bitter pill to swallow.
The sombre journey back home, following our comprehensive defeat, provided ample opportunity to ponder the permanent signing of Kieran Trippier.
Claret and Blue tinted spectacles often lead to even the most basic of footballer being placed on a pedestal whilst at Turf Moor.
In the case of Kieran, talk appears to focus on him being the best right-back in our division. Unsubstantiated chatter or a statement of fact?
Well, unlike my neighbour who genuinely offered comparison between Diego Penny and Gianluigi Buffon, people may have hit the nail firmly on the head with regards to our newest recruit.
His predecessor, Tyrone Mears, also received the same unofficial plaudits last season, but at seven years his junior, Trippier is already on a level footing, at the very least.
My only concern stems from my uncertainty over what formation can best harness his ability.
I cannot shake the feeling that he should be classed as a wingback, and deployed in a system to reflect that.
He would be absolutely unplayable in the 5-3-2/3-5-2 formation chosen by Tony Mowbray when we faced Middlesbrough in September.
Coincidently, we conclude our hat-trick of challenging away fixtures with a visit to The Riverside Stadium at the weekend.
I will discuss what we can expect to face in my next column, on Friday.