EDDIE Howe hopes to learn the lessons from the FA Cup exit at Norwich – and try to follow the Canaries’ remarkable upward trajectory.
Paul Lambert’s side eased to a 4-1 win at Carrow Road as they progressed in the cup, building on their impressive start to life in the Premier League after successive promotions.
Norwich have refined their brand of football further since the Clarets took four points from them last term, and Howe noted: “They are a good side, they’ve definitely improved the squad and have some good players.
“They’re excelling in the Premier League, getting results and are hard to beat.
“They played their diamond, and it’s a difficult system to combat.
“We weren’t at full strength, and when you come to a Premier League ground, you need your best team to have any chance.
“We’ll definitely learn from it and hopefully have a good second half of the season.
“We have to look at Norwich as our role model, a club we want to emulate, the success they’ve had coming from League 1, and all credit to their manager and players.
“We hope to follow a similar path.”
It added up to a second straight defeat after the cruel loss at Leeds, but Howe isn’t tooo disheartened: “We have to use this game as a one-off. We didn’t perform to our potential, but I you look at the bigger picture and say it doesn’t affect our league form.”
And he looked back on the game as a whole: “We didn’t look great defensively. I thought we looked a little shaky, but they’re a good side and they get numbers in the centre of the pitch, and they’ve also got the threat of Grant Holt aerially and (Steve) Morison when he came on,” said Howe.
“They’ve got good attacking options, but we didn’t really deal with it very well.
“We started really well and had a couple of chances, but conceded two poor goals.
“We did really well to get ourselves back in the game, showing good character, but once they got the third goal in the second half, it was game over.”
At 2-1, Norwich were given a soft penalty for handball against Charlie Austin – justice was done as Grant Holt put his effort wide, and Howe said: “I didn’t think it was a penalty. I thought it was harsh on Charlie, he was close and had no time to react.
“But in the second half we never really got going. They dominated the ball and it was a poor end to the game for us.
“We ended up changing the system a couple of times to try and combat their diamond, and we ended up going man for man, matching them up, and trying to win your battle, but the way they passed the ball, and their rotations were excellent.”
Howe started with three strikers in a bold statement of attacking intent. He said: “Jay, Pato and Charlie worked extremely hard. I wanted to get them all in the team to see the three together, and I think they all put a really good shift in.
“First half we had chances and were well in the game, had good possession, but second half we suffered.”