Norwich City's season will not be defined by Manchester City and Liverpool matches
It’s getting to that stage of the season where – as much as you don’t want to – it’s difficult not to focus on events away from Carrow Road.
Like many, I sat down on Sunday afternoon to watch Newcastle versus Aston Villa, hoping that Emi Buendia and his team-mates would do us a favour to limit the damage caused by the defeat against Manchester City.
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. A Kieran Trippier free kick, which ironically found its way in via a deflection off the former City star, was enough to secure Eddie Howe’s side a third win on the spin, extending their gap to us to four points with a game in hand.
Admittedly it’s not easy, but it’s important not to get too absorbed by the current league table – nor the result against Pep Guardiola’s champions-elect.
Man City are operating in a whole different stratosphere to us and actually, I thought we put up a pretty good fight during the first half.
Of course we were always going to surrender possession but in the face of near constant pressure, we defended our box well.
A particular shout must go to Grant Hanley, who was absolutely fantastic.
We also created chances – and good ones at that. Hanley himself headed against the post at 0-0, while Kenny McLean dragged a shot wide shortly after we had fallen behind.
Against the big teams, those are the moments that need to go your way because we were punished in the second half in what ultimately became a procession.
It’s a lesson we will need to heed as we travel to Liverpool for another incredibly hard assignment.
As I said last week, no game should be viewed as a free hit, but it is worth saying our fate will not be decided by the result at Anfield.
With Southampton, Brentford, Leeds, Brighton and Burnley to come in the following six games, that’s the period which will turn out to be season defining.