Bristol City their own worst enemy as Nigel Pearson makes Norwich assessment
The 59-year-old reflected on a positive overall display from his side.
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Kal Naismith misjudged a long ball for the opening goal and gave the ball away cheaply in midfield for Pukki’s second before the half-hour mark.
Goals from Tommy Conway and Antoine Semenyo weren’t enough for the West Country side, as Josh Sargent’s header from a corner proved the all-important goal.
“The takeaway message for the players and all of us tonight is that we were our own worst enemy tonight. I mean, we’ve given them really three goals, but we’ve played with a lot of passion and skill again,” Pearson said.
The defeat ended the Robins’ eight-game unbeaten run, but the visitors certainly held their own against one of the favourites to move up to the Premier League next season.
Pearson’s men had 11 shots and dominated possession at Carrow Road, and he was pleased with the display and commitment of his side.
“I’m proud of how they went about the game, to deal with setbacks and really cause one of the best teams in this league real problems. I’m sure Dean (Smith) will be glad the game is out the way,” he explained.
“When we scored the first goal, we’d had probably about five or six minutes of real good possession and pressure in their half, and we deserved to get back in (to the game). It was a shame we couldn’t find that equaliser and yeah, we let ourselves down a little bit with quality into the box at the end of the game but look it happens.
“The players have given an awful lot tonight and a special thanks to our fans who made such a long journey. Even though we’ve been beaten tonight, hopefully, they are seeing that their side cares and is playing pretty well.”
The Canaries had names such as Pukki, Todd Cantwell and Max Aarons on show, as well as several others with topflight experience.
The Robins line-up was made up more of youngsters and players formerly of League One and League Two, and the 59-year-old reflected on the improvements that individuals in his squad have made.
He said: “I had to remind myself in the first half that they were playing in the Premier League, and we have a lot of players who’ve played in the first division, or League One rather as we call it now, so there’s been quite a big shift for some of our players.
“But they’re really coping very well and our youngsters are doing well, and Antoine looked lively again when he went on, so there are loads of positives.”
One of the players to make the step up from the lower league is Mark Sykes, who joined on a free transfer from Oxford United in the summer.
The versatile midfielder has been a standout performer so far this campaign and gave another strong account of himself in midweek.
“He’s been one of our really positive stories this season and the only reason we took him off was to try and get more forwards on,” the manager said.
“Sykesy’s done very well, he started the game, again, he was one of the players who started a little bit, waiting to see what was happening, but yeah he’s been fantastic this season so another really good contribution from him.”