David McNally claims to be embarrassed by Norwich City’s position in the league table, but is he being too harsh on the Carrow Road outfit?
The Canaries are now in their third successive season in the Premier League, after Paul Lambert led them to runners-up spot in the Championship in 2010-11. Having then guided them to a twelfth place finish in their first campaign back in the top-flight, the Scottish coach quit the club to take charge of Aston Villa in 2012.
Chris Hughton, the former Newcastle United boss, was appointed as his successor, and they finished in 11th spot last term. However, their margin of safety was just eight points, compared to the eleven of the previous campaign. And despite a number of big-name arrivals in the summer, progress has stalled in recent weeks.
Norwich are currently in the relegation zone having collected just seven points from a possible 21, whilst only Stoke City (four) have scored less than their five goals, despite the signings of strikers Ricky van Wolfswinkel and Gary Hooper for a combined £13.6million, not to mention the loan addition of Sweden international Johan Elmander.
All this is a source of embarrassment to chief executive McNally, who has been in his position since succeeding Neil Doncaster in June 2009. Even so, he also maintains that the team deserve to be higher based on their performances, and he insists he and the board at Carrow Road maintain full confidence in Hughton to pull things around.
“I think we’re not in the position we deserve to be given the performances,” he told the Norwich Evening News. “We would like to have more points. I’m not happy about being 18th; I’m embarrassed by it. We will do everything we can to support Chris to get up the table as quickly as possible, and to stay and remain up the table.”
Despite McNally claiming to be embarrassed, they are in better health than this time last season when, after the same number of games, they had yet to secure a win having lost four times and drawn thrice. Yet within ten matches they had climbed as high as seventh, after Hughton had steered them to a sequence of six wins and four draws.
And although some results have been disappointing, notably the 1-0 loss away to Premier League new-boys Hull City and the defeat of the same score at home to Villa, they have held Everton to a draw, won against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium, and were five minutes away from collecting a point from Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea last weekend. So whilst there is always room for improvement, there’s little to be embarrassed about.