Russell Martin | We deserved something from the game, but you cannot start like we did

10th December 2022
First team

Head coach Russell Martin was left feeling “sick” for his Swansea City players after they paid the price for a sloppy start in a 1-0 defeat to Norwich City at the Stadium.

As the Championship resumed after a four-week gap since the previous round of fixtures owing to a break for the World Cup, the Swans were left to rue how they came out of the blocks against the Canaries.

Within 25 seconds of kick-off Ben Cabango had needed to produce a great challenge to deny Teemu Pukki, but the Finland striker would soon finish from close range at the back post before a minute had been played.

It proved the only goal of the game in a contest the Swans had by far the better of.

They ended the game with 17 shots on goal and seven on target, to the visitors’ tallies of five and two, with Kyle Naughton, Joel Piroe and Ryan Manning all going close for the home side.

But they could not find a leveller against the club Martin served with distinction as a player.

And, while there was much to take from the performance against a promotion favourite and a squad littered with top-level experience, there was no hiding the sense of frustration.

“I feel sick, to be perfectly honest. It was a really poor start,” said the Swans boss.

“We have paid for a mad two minutes at the start of the game, and a lack of conviction and composure in the box.

Russell Martin shouts instructions - Norwich

“We created so many chances, I don’t think we deserved to lose, and I think we deserved something from the game.

“But you cannot get away with conceding a goal like that to a team that possesses a lot of really top players at this level.

“There were a few scary moments in the first half, and there was a bit of a lack of composure and belief, I don’t know if it was a bit of rustiness.

“That got less and less as the game went on and we were really dominant in the second half, I don’t really think they got near our goal.

“But we just lacked a bit of conviction and that was the story of the game. We gave them a lead to hang on to, and they were good enough to do that.

“I am struggling to understand how we have not scored, and the frustrating thing is how we have allowed a goal like that to hurt us.

“We played against a team that is going to be right up there, and I thought we were better than them. We were dominant, we had control of the game, we looked dangerous.

“If we play like that moving forward I will be really happy, but I feel a bit sick for the players that we have allowed a moment like that to define the game.

“It’s been a season so far that has been interspersed by moments like their goal, we did a lot of work on set-pieces this week and it has panned out exactly as the players were shown. It’s frustrating.”